Law-flouting dog owners

0
Have your say

In reply to David Oliver’s letter in last week’s edition regarding the new bylaws which apparently ban dogs from cemeteries and river banks and in particular the paths in Wilton Lodge Park which run adjacent to the Teviot, I really don’t understand his concerns.

After all, local legislation already forbids dogs to be let off the lead in the park and section 3.12 of the Scottish Outdoor Access Code quite clearly states that “dogs must not be allowed to enter water and disturb wildlife”. The latter being an offence in common law.

The truth is that the vast majority of “responsible” dog owners completely ignore these existing laws and when did we last read about anyone being admonished for doing so?

I wouldn’t worry Mr Oliver, just carry on as you have always done like all the other “responsible” dog walkers.

One final word to the councillors, please don’t waste tax-payers’ money introducing laws which you have no teeth to enforce. The fact is that the majority of people are not dog owners, therefore it is those people who pay the majority of the funds which you are spending to write those laws.

BILL ATHERTON

I write to correct a number of points made in your pages last week regarding dogs and their access to public open spaces.

To clarify, the Dog Fouling (Scotland) Act 2003 makes dog fouling an offence and provides a legal basis on which to apply fixed penalties to those who do not pick up after their dogs. This applies to ‘public open spaces’ which are defined as:

(a) any place which is open to the air to which the public or any section of the public has access, on payment or otherwise, as of right or by virtue of express or implied permission; and

(b) any common passage, close, court, stair, back green, garden, yard or other similar common area.

With specific regard to cemeteries, Scottish Borders Council Management Rules for Cemeteries and Burial Grounds have been in place since 2003, and they clearly exclude dogs from cemeteries and burial grounds with the exception of guide dogs. People are asked to observe and comply with these rules responsibly.

With regard to river banks, the letter writer seems to imply that dogs are banned from rivers and river banks. This is not the case. Hawick used to have designated dog exercise areas on river banks and the fact that these have now been removed may have led people to erroneously believe that a ban has been imposed for dogs on river banks. Riverbanks are considered ‘public open spaces’ and, as such, are covered by the Dog Fouling Act, and people who use them are required to pick up after their dogs.

Dog owners can find out more at the Wilton Cemetery open day on May 7, when staff in attendance will be able to answer questions on a range of cemetery and countryside issues.

I hope that the information above helps people understand that, whilst Scottish Borders Council supports people’s peaceful enjoyment of our beautiful Borderlands, the council will not tolerate lazy, irresponsible dog owners anywhere. If dog owners do not pick up after their dogs, they will be fined for breaking the law.

COUNCILLOR LEN WYSE

Executive member for

environmental services

IN RESPONSE to Provost Zandra Elliot’s letter in last week’s paper, what we in the Common Good Investment Group (which includes Mrs Elliot) are looking at for Hawick, as for all the common good funds, is an effective strategy for the management of common good capital sums.

This strategy will be consulted upon and if Hawick does not want to share in it, then it needn’t. Whoever does join in will have full access to their own proportion of the funds under management.

Let me repeat, we are looking at a strategy for how the assets are invested.

Come on Zandra, please listen to what’s actually being said!

Carolyn Riddell-Carre

Chairman, Common Good Investment Group

I am writing to you over the possible closure of Teviotdale Leisure Centre. Has it ever occurred to the people involved that this is really the only leisure facility kids of my age can use?

I would also be disappointed if the library was moved to the leisure centre. I do love books but I would rather have the library stay where it is and keep the swimming, squash, dancing and keep fit where it is. I would also like to see longer hours for public swimming.

IONA STEWART

(Aged 12)

I am writing to publicise the dates for the rest of the year’s community council meetings, which are as follows: April 12, May 10, June 14, July 12, September 13, October 11, November 8, December 6.

Members of the public are always welcome, and can raise any issues they feel need addressed. There is also a representative from the police in attendance, as well as dog wardens and local councillors. Meeting the latter group at the meetings is a good way of getting any problems seen to quickly. You can also have your say about anything going on in Hawick.

HELEN FORD

Community councillor