Way forward for responsible dog ownership

Group of people, children and dogs outside a school building

Published: Wednesday, 30th May 2018

Councillors will discuss the way forward for responsible dog ownerships in the Borders this week.

They will be asked to approve the introduction of a new five year Responsible Dog Ownership Strategy. The focus will be on a long-term approach in an effort to change behaviour through education and awareness.

The refreshed strategy will aim to build on the good work carried out in the current Responsible Dog Ownership Strategy, launched in 2016.

Your suggestions to help tackle dog fouling

Following feedback from the community, it is also proposed that new initiatives be taken forward, such as:

  • free dog poo bag dispensers (provided by a third party which has proved successful in other areas of Scotland)
  • a review of the location of litter/dog poo bins

The Responsible Dog Ownership Strategy launched in February 2016 saw a number of positive projects taken forward including the Green Dog Walker Scheme. The scheme aims to change attitudes towards dog fouling. Around 200 people have so far signed up to the community-led scheme since it was introduced in April 2016.

Sign up to be a Green Dog Walker

Events for dogs and their owners

  • A dog wellbeing day in Hawick is being held on Friday 6 July 2018
  • Regular microchipping events continue to be held - details of next events will be publicised here

Ways to tackle dog fouling in your area

Request posters and pavement stencils to be placed in areas where dog fouling is an issue. See our website for advice and contacts.

Work has also been carried out with community groups such as Dog Friendly Newtown and schools including Hawick High School. Share Hawick High School's video, available on YouTube ‘Bag the poo – any bin will do’.

Enforcement officers

The strategy saw an enforcement trial where two dog fouling and litter enforcement officers were employed, through external firm 3GS, for a year from June 2016. Cover was then provided through one enforcement officer until April this year. 

In this time, a total of 19 dog fouling and 185 litter/fly-tipping fines were issued, as well as three dog fouling fines by Police Scotland. The trial provided a number of logistical and operational challenges but lessons were learnt which will help shape the future of responsible dog ownership in the Borders.

The report proposes that we work with the new community policing action team to take forward enforcement.

Councillor Sandy Aitchison, Executive Member for Neighbourhoods and Locality Services

“Dog fouling remains a community issue which cannot be solely tackled by the Council, particularly when demand on public services is increasing while budgets are being squeezed.

“In an effort to play our part, the Council is proposing to take forward an updated Responsible Dog Ownership Strategy, building on the successes of the previous strategy, learning lessons and listening to feedback from the community.

“It is important we all work together to combat this issue, and ensure the Borders remains a beautiful area to work in, live and visit.

“Members of the public and community groups can play their part in variety of ways – join the Green Dog Walker Scheme, report dog fouling or request posters/stencils at www.scotborders.gov.uk/dogfouling or phone 0300 100 1800.”

More information

Images from the Responsible Dog Ownership strategy are available on our Flickr page.

Read the full report on Responsible Dog Ownership strategy.

The Responsible Dog Ownership Strategy is part of the Neighbourhoods Operations review, which a project we are carrying out to identify and implement changes to the way we deliver some of our services to communities.

The strategy focuses on a series of services provided, primarily grasscutting, public toilets and dog fouling. See the Neighbourhood Services review online.

It is part of the new #yourpart campaign which we and our partners have launched which encourages everyone to play their part to keep the Borders thriving.