The launch of a scheme aimed at tackling dog fouling in a “friendly and positive way” has been given a cautious welcome this week.
Scottish Borders Council is the latest authority to sign up to the Green Dog Walkers initiative which sees owners pledge to clean up after their dog, and also give “friendly reminders” to other owners to clean up after their pet.
The scheme, which is part of SBC’s new responsible dog ownership strategy, also asks owners to carry extra dog poo bags to provide them to those who do not have any, and those who sign up can choose to wear a Green Dog Walkers accessory to ensure they are noticeable to all dog owners.
But Councillor Stuart Marshall said that while he supported any initiative that improved the dire dog fouling situation in Hawick, he was concerned that the Green Dog Walker scheme was aimed at those already socially responsible and not directly at those who could not care less.
He added: “I fear that some who offer advice to irresponsible dog owners may find themselves in difficult situations. And I hope the police and the council will do all they can to fully support those who sign up for this.”
Councillor Watson McAteer said he also feared that the scheme would not impact greatly on those who were happy to let their dogs loose to foul at will.
“However, any initiative that helps reduce the recognised growing problem of dog fouling and nuisance should be given a chance,” he said.
Councillor Davie Paterson, SBC’s executive member for environmental services, told the Hawick News: “While we are in the process of appointing two enforcement officers, the Green Dog Walkers Scheme will help to educate owners and involve the community.
“Dog fouling is a disgusting health hazard, but by signing up to become a Green Dog Walker you can help tackle fouling in a friendly and positive way.”