Plan to ‘name and shame’ dropped

The Oban Times - - Front Page -

A PLAN to ‘name and shame’ non-pay­ment of fixed penal­ties for dog foul­ing has been shown the red card by Ar­gyll and Bute Coun­cil of­fi­cials.

Elected mem­bers asked of­fi­cers to find out the le­gal po­si­tion on nam­ing those peo­ple who al­lowed their dogs to foul but didn’t pay the penal­ties.

But at a coun­cil meet­ing to­day (Thurs­day), coun­cil­lors will be told that le­gal ad­vice means it can­not make ‘sham­ing’ part of its pol­icy.

Coun­cil pa­pers said: ‘The le­gal ad­vice we have re­ceived con­firms that we can­not name and shame in­di­vid­u­als when fixed penalty no­tices are is­sued. It would only be pos­si­ble to name an in­di­vid­ual if the fixed penalty charge is not paid within the al­lot­ted time. The coun­cil sends a re­port to the procu­ra­tor fis­cal and the case is then heard with the per­son be­ing con­victed of an of­fence.

‘Of­fi­cers have not been able to find de­tails of any other Scot­tish author­ity which names and shames for dog foul­ing.

‘The coun­cil does look to pur­sue non-pay­ments through the procu­ra­tor fis­cal where this sit­u­a­tion arises but these in­ci­dences are few and far be­tween.

‘These cases are likely to be re­ported in the lo­cal me­dia, negat­ing the need for a spe­cific pol­icy of nam­ing and sham­ing of­fend­ers.

‘The coun­cil does not cur­rently have a pol­icy of nam­ing and sham­ing those con­victed of other of­fences it en­forces and in­tro­duc­ing it only for this of­fence may raise ques­tions as to why this is­sue is be­ing dealt with dif­fer­ently.

‘Coun­cil of­fi­cers are in dis­cus­sion with Keep Scot­land Beau­ti­ful with a view to run­ning a coun­cil-wide dog foul­ing cam­paign in spring 2017.’

Ar­gyll and Bute Coun­cil en­vi­ron­men­tal war­dens cur­rently en­force leg­is­la­tion that al­lows of­fi­cers to is­sue £80 fixed charge no­tices to peo­ple who fail to lift their dog’s fae­ces. The mon­e­tary penalty was in­creased from £40 to £80 in April 2016 by the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment. But the coun­cil re­port added: ‘Our war­dens’ pres­ence in dog-walk­ing ar­eas usu­ally re­sults in own­ers pick­ing up af­ter their dogs and very few penalty no­tices be­ing is­sued.

‘Lim­ited in­for­ma­tion is re­ceived from mem­bers of the pub­lic re­gard­ing of­fend­ing in­di­vid­u­als. Where in­for­ma­tion is re­ceived and where in­di­vid­u­als are pre­pared to give ev­i­dence, we are able to pur­sue the in­di­vid­ual re­spon­si­ble for al­low­ing their dog to mess by is­su­ing a fixed penalty, pro­vid­ing a writ­ten state­ment is pro­vided by the wit­ness and where the coun­cil has rea­son to be­lieve an of­fence has been com­mit­ted.’

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