THE fine for dog owners who fail to pick up after their pets has been doubled from £40 to £80 as part of a crackdown by the Scottish Government.
Ministers announced the move after a public consultation showed “overwhelming” backing for more severe punishments for those who break the law on dog fouling.
Fixed penalty charges for the offence will come into force on 1 April, with the level of the fine being brought into line with that for people caught littering.
The Scottish Government said it would also look at how to launch a “more robust” system to tackle the issue of collecting unpaid penalties from those issued with fines for dog fouling.
A consultation on promoting responsible dog ownership found more than two thirds of respondents felt more could be done to tackle the problem, with support for increased fines among the most popular suggestions.
Minister for community safety Paul Wheelhouse said the increase in the level of financial penalties was needed to deter offenders and to protect public health.
He said: “Dog fouling is not only unpleasant, but also can pose potentially significant risks to health, particularly for children, and we’re very clear that dog owners who do not clear up after their pets are breaking the law.
“We believe the increased penalty will act as a greater deterrent for people who do not take responsibility for their pets and clean up after them.
“Our consultation has shown us that we have public opinion behind us in an effort to get tougher on dog fouling and to tackle an issue that affects all too many communities across the country.”
The crackdown was also welcomed by the environmental charity, Keep Scotland Beautiful, which has published research showing that almost seven in ten people rated dog fouling as the issue that most spoilt the environment.
Derek Robertson, chief executive of Keep Scotland Beautiful said: “We welcome the doubling of the fixed penalty notice for dog fouling.
“Increasing the fine to £80 is a positive step in the right direction and will send a clear message to irresponsible dog owners that their actions have a negative impact on people and communities.”