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Dog fouling Bill is part of new Scottish initiative

Measures clamping down on dog fouling in public places could be set to improve the quality of life of communities across Scotland.

Minister for Finance and Public Services Andy Kerr last week underlined his support for the Members' Bill on Dog Fouling, saying it was an integral part of the Scottish Executive’s Quality of Life initiative to improve the local environment and the quality of people’s daily lives.

The Dog fouling Bill was introduced to parliament by Keith Harding MSP last year and includes measures which would:

n change the current offence from one of allowing a dog to foul to one of failing to clean up after a dog;

n allow the police and local authorities to enforce new offence provisions by way of a fixed penalty notices as opposed to going through the courts; and
n remove the need for corroborating evidence which currently causes difficulties.

Mr Kerr said: "Local residents have the right to expect streets which are clean and free from the nuisance and health risks often caused by dog fouling. That is why we are supporting this bill and working with Keith Harding MSP to ensure locals communities are spared from the unpleasantness of dog fouling.

"Supporting the Bill is part of our focus on our Quality of Life initiative, launched last year, aimed at making a real difference in our communities by improving local environments and the quality of people’s daily lives by dealing with local concerns such as litter, graffiti, and dog fouling.

"The Scottish Executive are fully committed to improving the quality of life of our communities. We gave £95 million to local authorities in 2002 to fund local projects and a further £180 million was also set aside in the Budget for the next three years to help drive it forward.

"While enforcement will undoubtedly play a vital part in this Bill, it is also essential that we educate and encourage dog owners to change their attitude and act more responsibly. That is why we have committed £100,000 to a publicity campaign should the Bill successfully complete its passage.

"I know this is an important issues for our local communities and although there are still some issues to be resolved, I hope we can work together to ensure this Bill completes its passage before the end of the parliament. I am certain that this Bill will make a real difference across Scotland."

Speaking to OUR DOGS earlier this week Allan Sim, Secretary General of the Scottish Kennel Club, said, ‘We were happy to have an input into the bill at committee stages and broadly welcome its aims and good intentions. We have noted its progress and, if asked, the SKC will be happy to contribute again.’