Dog owners ‘treat town like a toilet’

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THE anti-dog fouling message is not getting through to the people of Hawick.

That was the dire conclusion from Scottish Borders Council environmental chief Len Wyse, who was responding to last week’s ‘From The Editor’s Chair’ column in which Hawick News editor Jason Marshall lambasted the local authority over its “so-called war on dog fouling” and the small number of penalty fines which have been handed out this year.

But according to the local authority’s latest batch of figures, SBC is winning the war on dog poo – and Mr Wyse says it is a certain few in Hawick who are treating the town “like a toilet”.

Although stressing that their survey showed the town isn’t any worse than other areas in the region, and that overall the Borders is above the Scottish minimum, Councillor Wyse said: “Sadly, the message does not seem to be getting through to Hawick, to the townsfolk who can help by reporting incidents and the ignorant few who just treat the town like a toilet.”

Mr Wyse says a survey conducted last year showed that 75 per cent of people were aware of the council’s anti-dog fouling campaign, but in response to the accusation that it is losing the battle in Hawick, he commented: “Unfortunately, there must be a significant proportion of dog owners in the Hawick area that don’t take dog ownership seriously enough to clean up after their pets.”

But Mr Marshall says he is shocked that the council boss has not instigated a fresh approach.

He said: “I’m astonished that Mr Wyse still doesn’t seem to appreciate the need for a change in strategy as Hawick continues to sink under a sea of dog dirt.

“It’s all very well quoting figures, but the fact is that SBC is failing miserably in its attempts to tackle the issue in Hawick.”

Although the council boss also revealed that the number of dog fouling complaints in Hawick is down this year, he says townsfolk still have a huge part to play in combating the problem.

“I would like to throw down the gauntlet to the folk of Hawick,” he stated. “Help us get it sorted like many others in the Borders do.”

But Mr Marshall added: “It’s glaringly obvious that we need more wardens and not another plea to lazy dog owners who can’t be bothered to pick up after their pets, or to those who are being implored to report such behaviour. It just doesn’t work.”