A LOCAL authority has launched a new weapon in the fight against dog dirt – a vacuum cleaner called Fido.
West Dunbartonshire Council is the first local authority in Scotland to buy the “poovers” after they were hailed a success south of the Border.
Costing £22,000 each, theFaeces Intake Disposal Operation – Fido for short – is an all-terrain vehicle capable of sucking up 240 litres of dog dirt.
In the past five years councils have handed out 6,000 fines to owners who fail to clean up after their pets.
But the company behind Fido believes they are now looking for a different solution.
Alex Murphy, spokesman for Trafalgar Cleaning Equipment, said: “We were approached by several councils in Scotland. They can drive up around parks and over pavements.”
However, critics have questioned the cost of the vehicles at a time when local authorities are cutting back and trying to get best value for money.
Robert Oxley, from Taxpayer’s Alliance, said: “This is a huge amount of money to spend.
“No-one likes dog fouling, and it’s right that councils do their best to tackle the problem.
“But dedicated vehicles seem like an expensive taxpayer-funded sledgehammer to crack a nut.”
A similar machine has been used in Ireland, called a Ride-On Vehicle Excrement Remover – or Rover.
West Dunbartonshire Council has been working hard to eradicate the problem of dog fouling, and in June it tried spraying it pink in an effort to highlightthe problem it causes to local residents.
A council spokesman said: “As the vehicle is new, it is too early to determine its success.
“We’ll be carrying out an evaluation over the year to see how effective it has been.”