Calling foul on owners

A new multi-agency initiative to tackle dog fouling on the island has been launched, with a local primary school pupil's poster used to promote it.

(L-R) PC Donald MacKay (Rural Watch & Campaign Co-Ordinator) PC Ewan Ross, Mick McGuigan (Argyll & Bute Council), Inspector Duncan MacLean, Jim Ferguson & Paul McCabe (Argyll & Bute Council) and PC Matthew Thomson. Bute dog fouling intiative

Throughout the month-long campaign in May, police officers will team up with local authority officers to patrol areas to educate, advise, deter and ultimately deal with any offences that come to light.

Inspector Duncan MacLean believes dog fouling is a big issue on the island.

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He said: “Having attended a Bute Community Council meeting and listened to the concerns of not only the local councillors but also the members of the community, it was clear that frustrations, in respect of this issue, were long-standing and needed to be addressed.

Rothesay Primary School pupil Sarah McDowalls winning poster

“If irresponsible dog owners are not challenged in respect of the antisocial behaviour of not taking responsibility for the mess left behind, then the matter will seem to some as getting worse and not being addressed.

“One of the main themes of this initiative is to get people to understand, through education, the problems that vulnerable people will face if the matter is not resolved.

“Not only will we benefit from having better health but we will also enhance the area in which we live.”

Primary school pupils were tasked with designing a poster for the dog fouling campaign, with Rothesay Primary School P7 pupil Sarah McDowall winning the competition.

Rothesay Primary School pupil Sarah McDowalls winning poster

Inspector MacLean added: “The poster competition involved the youth of our community.

“In a lot of cases they have their finger on the pulse, they are environmentally astute and can influence people who are more mature and should know better.

“I am hoping that the poster, which has been made by a child living in the Rothesay community, will say what a thousand words can’t.”

Police will work together with the environmental warden to enforce the legislation which makes it an offence for dog owners who do not to act responsibly.

Inspector MacLean said: “Joint patrols provide an opportunity for the local council and the police to work together, to share expertise and to work towards a common goal. They have been implemented before and have had a particularly good success rate.

“The patrols will be visible and will be as part of a prolonged campaign to positively influence the community to get behind the initiative and to ensure that the streets are safe to walk on. The more people who take heed of the potential dangers of dog fouling and as a result become a responsible dog owner the better.

“I am confident that with the public’s support we can make a positive contribution to cleaning up the streets, parks and walkways surrounding this beautiful island. And in doing so ensure that the initiative will not only make a difference today and tomorrow but for the future.”

The inspector added that areas such as The Esplanade, Victoria Street, Montague Street, Stuart Street, Queen Street, Port Bannatyne in general and the King George v Playing fields, in particular, were causing concern.