Residents in Scotland should be aware of new legislation that came into force on 22 October 2003 covering dog fouling.
Scotland has a separate legal system and different laws. In Scots law corroboration is required before a person is charged ie there must be two witnesses to the event in question.
This new act removes the need for corroborative evidence and a single witness may be sufficient for prosecution.
Previous legislation was contained in Section 48 of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 which made it an offence for a person to allow a dog to foul on certain public places such as footpaths and pavements.
This new legislation changes the emphasis from allowing a dog to foul to failing to clear up. This time the act is more specific as to the geographical area covered and includes any public open place and a public place being defined as any place to which the public has access and includes any common passage, close, court, stair, backgreen, garden, yard or other similar common area.
Like any legislation there are exemptions which now include guide dogs, police dogs, armed forces dogs, emergency rescue work dogs and dogs for the disabled.
Similar to the fixed penalty system with which many motorists are familiar, the act offers as an alternative to prosecution; a police officer or authorised local authority officer may issue a fixed penalty notice to offenders as an alternative of going to court.
The initial cost is £40, increasing to £60 if the fine is not paid within 28 days.