Councillor Davie Paterson told Monday night’s community council meeting that SBC can’t afford to prosecute those who don’t pay dog-fouling fines.
“There is no realistic prospect of the council taking people to court. We just can’t afford it,” admitted Mr Paterson.
Mr Paterson was responding to community councillors Cameron Knox, Helen Ford and Andy Maybury who pressed him on the issue.
The trio quizzed Mr Paterson on last week’s Hawick News story in which he revealed that dog fouling has been an issue for 30 years and that the council’s new dog fouling strategy would be unveiled at the end of the month.
Mrs Ford said: “I just can’t believe we can’t get an answer in 30 years.”
And community council vice-chair Mr Knox asked: “And in the last six months the council hasn’t issued any fines for dog fouling?” Mr Paterson replied: “Yes, that’s right.”
Mrs Ford said: “And what difference is this new strategy going to make?”
Councillor Paterson replied: “It will be revealed at the end of the month.”
Speaking later in the week, Mr Paterson was guarded about the possibility of enforcement measures in the new strategy. “It may do, but it will focus more on education,” he said.
Community councillor Andy Maybury isn’t impressed: “The fact that the stated rationale for not chasing these payments is a financial one is deeply concerning.
“The fact that it may cost more to recover the penalty than the face value of the payment belies the fact that there are other, far more important, values involved. To reduce such a decision to pounds and pence is not only naive but verging on the amoral.”
letters, page 16