COUNCIL bosses have lamented the “limited information” supplied by members of the public to track down dog owners who fail to clear up after their pet.

A new report reveals concern at the small number of people prepared to provide the written evidence Argyll and Bute Council would need to pursue dog fouling offenders through the courts.

The report says nearly 350 dog fouling complaints were logged across the council area between April 2019 and March 2021.

Helensburgh and Lomond, meanwhile, saw 48 dog fouling complaints recorded during the whole of 2020.

But councillors agreed in February to slash the strength of the area’s environmental warden service by more than half.

The report was prepared for the council’s environment, development and infrastructure committee.

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Executive director Kirsty Flanagan said: “Officers have successfully deployed CCTV at known locations where dog fouling is an issue.

“Our wardens’ presence in dog walking areas usually results in owners picking up after their dogs and very few penalty notices being issued and is therefore a highly effective deterrent.

“Our enforcement warden service has been reduced from nine to four FTEs [full time equivalent] due to reductions in the funding available to the council.

“This means that warden coverage across the area is limited.”

Ms Flanagan added: “Limited information is received from members of the public regarding offending individuals.

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“Where information is received and where individuals are prepared to give evidence we are able to pursue the individual responsible for allowing their dog to mess by issuing a fixed penalty, providing a written statement is provided by the witness and where the council have reason to believe an offence has been committed.

“Unfortunately few individuals are prepared to provide written evidence which would be required for the council to progress any dog fouling matter through the courts.”

Ms Flanagan added that a 2017 proposal to ‘name and shame’ owners responsible for dog fouling was a non-starter due to legal advice.

Members of the council committee agreed at the meeting to launch a poster campaign against dog fouling in the area as part of more "positive aggressive action".

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