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Caithness News Bulletins October 2003
COUNCIL ALERTS DOG OWNERS TO CHANGE IN LEGISLATION
Dog owners throughout Highland could face a fixed penalty of £40 if they fail to clear up their pet’s mess.
This is the warning from The Highland Council’s Transport, Environmental and Community Services who will have new powers as the result of the introduction of The Dog Fouling (Scotland) Act 2003, which comes into force on Wednesday 22nd October.
The Act replaces existing dog fouling legislation (section 48 of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act, 1982) which made it an offence for a person to allow a dog to foul on certain public places such as footpaths and pavements.
The new Act changes the emphasis of the offence from allowing a dog to foul, to failing to clear up after it. It also introduces new enforcement provisions which allow local authorities and the police the option of issuing fixed penalty notices to people they believe have committed an offence.
Failure to pay a £40 fixed penalty notice within 28 days to the local authority where the offence was committed will result in the penalty increasing to £60. If the increased fixed penalty of £60 remains unpaid within a further 28 days then The Highland Council will pursue payment through the Court system.
Within the Highland Council, 9 Community Works Assistants: 2 in Caithness, 1 in Sutherland, 2 in Ross and Cromarty, 3 in Inverness, Nairn and Badenoch and Strathspey, and 1 in Lochaber and Skye and Lochalsh will be identified, as required by the new Act, as ‘Designated Officers’ and hence authorised to issue fixed penalty notices to people who fail to clear up after their dogs.
The new Act makes it an offence for a person in charge of a dog to fail to remove and dispose appropriately of any excrement after the dog has fouled without reasonable excuse or the consent of the land owner or occupier. This applies to all public places, including common passage, close, court, stair, back green, and other similar areas.
The 2003 Act also removes the need for any corroborative evidence to be supplied in any subsequent proceedings. The Act also specifies that is an offence for anyone suspected of having committed an offence, without reasonable excuse, to give their name and address to an authorised local authority officer.
Chairman of The Highland Council’s Caithness Area Transport, Environmental and Community Services Committee, Cllr John Green said: “I welcome this new Bill that gives the Council new powers that should allow our officers to take positive action to stop people who persistently refuse to clear up their dogs mess.”