Plan to ‘name and shame’ dropped
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.’