Dog fouling

Dog fouling FAQs

How will enforcement be carried out?

As part of a 12-month trial, we have agreed to join up with an external company on the issue of dog fouling as part of a new responsible dog ownership strategy for the Borders.

The private contractor will appoint two enforcement officers who will be able to:

  • Issue tickets for dog fouling and also littering
  • Target known problem areas across the region
  • Fulfil an education role

What will happen if I am caught littering or dog fouling by an enforcement officer?

There are two options. You will be asked to pay a fixed penalty of £80. If it is not paid within 28 days, it will increase to £100.

We can also choose to notify the Procurator Fiscal for prosecution through the criminal courts. It is then a matter for the Procurator Fiscal to decide if criminal proceedings should be raised.

Prosecution can only be brought within six months of the offence being committed.

Are these enforcement officers legally allowed to issue tickets?

Yes, they are issuing tickets on behalf of us and will be based in our offices, working alongside staff from Neighbourhood Operations and Safer Communities.

In what places can I be issued with a ticket if my dog fouls?

You can be issued with a ticket in any public open place. This includes:

  • Any place which is open to the air to which the public has access to
  • This includes any common passage, close, court, stair, back green, garden, yard or other similar common area.

Can I end up in court as a result of dog fouling?

Yes, fixed penalties are an alternative to prosecution but we fully intend to forward cases to the Procurator Fiscal for prosecution through the criminal courts.

Will you be reviewing use of the enforcement officers?

Yes, it is a one year pilot scheme which will be reviewed throughout the 12 months.

What else will you be doing to try to reduce dog fouling?

We will be carrying out a series of activities to promote the responsible dog ownership message.

The new strategy uses best practice from local councils across Scotland and the UK. These include:

  • prevention and changing behaviour
  • engagement with communities and volunteers 

Where does the dog fouling legislation apply?

The Dog Fouling (Scotland) Act 2003 applies to any public open place. Public open place is defined as “any place which is open to the open air and to which the public or any section of the public has access on payment or otherwise” and “any common passage, close, court, stair, back green, yard or other similar common area”.
Are there any exceptions and exemptions?

There are certain people to whom the Act does not apply. These include:

  • A blind person who is in charge of a dog that is used for their guidance
  • A disabled person with a physical impairment who is in charge of a dog that is trained to assist them with their impairment

Examples of what might be considered a reasonable excuse for failing to clean up after the dog include:

  • If the dog has diarrhoea
  • If cleaning it up presents a risk of injury to the person in charge or to others.

What if there is not any ‘No Dog Fouling’ signs in the area?

The Dog Fouling (Scotland) Act 2003 covers almost all land open to the public with very few exceptions. Lack of signs is no defence if you are caught allowing your dog to foul and not removing the waste.

Can I dispose of dog poo in any bin?

We would encourage owners to dispose of dog waste in any public bin, as we are advising with our campaign slogan - ‘Bag the poo, any bin will do.’

If no bins are available nearby, we would ask people to take the waste home and dispose of it in your normal household waste.

I have seen someone not clean up after their dog – what can I do?

You can report it online or phone 0300 100 1800.

We will require some details of the offender, the dog, and note the time and place the incident occurred. This information will be passed to the enforcement officers. The more accurate and specific the information that is provided, the greater the chance that this will result in an offender being penalised.

If the dog I am walking is not mine but is caught fouling, will I be fined?

Yes. The Dog Fouling (Scotland) Act 2003 Act places responsibility to clear up any waste on ‘the person in charge of the dog’.