Councillor vents dog dirt fury

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COUNCILLOR Davie Paterson has slammed the “ignorant” dog owners who refuse to pick up after their pets in Wilton Lodge Park.

The Hawick and Hermitage member, who is also Scottish Borders Council’s environment portfolio holder, was responding to a letter in last week’s paper from exiled Teri Keith Kirton who wrote that he had “never seen as much dog fouling in one place” as he witnessed up the park during a visit for the Common-Riding.

Speaking to the Hawick News this week, Mr Paterson said: “Wilton Lodge is one of the most beautiful parks in the Borders and I want it to stay that way.

“But let’s not forget that with a dog comes responsibility. And some people are just plain ignorant and irresponsible.

“I just want to try and instil some civic pride into certain folk.

“We love our park and why can’t these dog owners just treat it with the respect it deserves?”

Mr Kirton also called for a tougher line to be taken on dog owners and mooted the idea of banning the worst offenders from the park.

“Legal complexities” would scupper such a move, claimed Mr Paterson, but he has pledged to push for more council employees to be given the authority to hand out fixed penalty tickets as well as an increase in fines for offenders.

Alluding to the detrimental effect of dog fouling on the town’s tourism trade, Mr Paterson continued: “What I always say is that you never get a second chance to make a first impression, and first impressions are so important if we want folk to keep visiting our beautiful park.”

Mr Paterson is also hoping to take in the town’s dog-fouling hot spots with the wardens in a bid to up the ante on offenders.

“It’s and age-old problem, but make no mistake I’m determined to keep on top of it,” he added.