John with CS Officers in Loreburn Hall car park AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to LinkedInLinkedInLinkedInHow annoying is standing in a dog’s mess? Do you get irritated when you can’t find a parking space? Or does the site of litter lying in your street or around the town or village you live in drive you mad?Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Community Safety Officers are on hand across the region to monitor and hand out fines for those who fail to pick up their dog’s mess, those who overstay their welcome in our Council disc-zone car parks and those individuals who cast aside their cigarette butts, chip wrappers and juice cans. Our Council carries out regular Community Safety Surveys and the number one grievance that members of the public have is the amount of dog fouling that lies around on our regions pavements and open spaces.Our Officers respond to concerns from residents, none more so than a recent crackdown in the Wigtownshire area. In the last week alone, 6 fines of £80 have been handed out to people who fail to pick up after their pooch. More than a dozen fines have been handed out in Wigtownshire since the start of the year. The problem of dog fouling is one that is mirrored region-wide. Two particular hot-spots where dog walkers are guilty of not picking up are Maryfield, home of Heston Rovers FC, and Park Farm, home of Dumfries Saints Rugby Club. Both areas have public footpaths running through them, but irresponsible dog owners let their pets off the lead in these wide open grass areas, allowing the dogs to foul on the grass pitches of both clubs. More than 50 fines were handed out in the last part of 2016, but still dog owners do not seem to get the message.Communities Committee Chairman Councillor Tom McAughtrie commented;“We need the public’s help with catching perpetrators – names, descriptions of dogs, times etc. We would urge the public to name and shame those they believe responsible, directly to the Community Safety Team. Any information we receive is treated in the strictest of confidence and never divulged, but it is invaluable in allowing us to dedicate patrols in a certain area at a certain time to hopefully then catch those responsible.”Tom with CS Officers and reps from Dumfries Rugby ClubA representative from Dumfries Saints Rugby Club added;“We’ve had players become unwell thanks to irresponsible dog owners. Clearly, rugby is a game played on the grass, involving a lot of sliding and tackling at ground level. People should not be exposed to dog mess whilst enjoying some leisure time. We’re working with the Community Safety Officers to hopefully put an end to this disgusting problem we have here at Park Farm.” These comments were echoed by Vice-Chairman of the Committee, Councillor John Martin; “Maryfield is one of the main open spaced areas that I cover in my local ward, and is by far and away one of the main routes of complaints I receive at surgeries and via phone and email. Children as young as 4 years old train on these pitches every week, and yet dog owners feel it is acceptable to not clean up after their dog. These dog owners should be fined for this deplorable behaviour, and I am pleased they’re being hit with the £80 fines.”Dog fouling is not the only issue our Community Safety Officers are combatting as part of their day job. Officers patrol Council owned disc-car parks in Dumfries and Stranraer and have handed out a total of 243 fines since July last year for people who do not abide by the parking restrictions. Whether it is not displaying a disc, or not returning to the vehicle by the required time, our officers will be on hand to hit motorists in the pocket with fines of £74 (£37 if it is paid within a week) a pop.Councillor McAughtrie commented;“Our Council is not responsible for on-street parking, as this falls under the remit of Police Scotland. What we are responsible for is disc zone car parks, and we try to patrol these to the best of our abilities. There is ample all day free parking in our towns, so I find it hard to sympathise with motorists who stay in a space longer than permitted. There’s clear signage in car parks that detail how long you can park there for, and we do not charge for parking discs. Our Officers do exercise a degree of leniency as we understand that people get held up in queues in shops or at appointments, but we will continue to fine those who abuse the parking restrictions in our council car parks in Dumfries and Stranraer.”Littering is also something that will land you a bill of £80 if you’re caught in the act. Officers carry out regular patrols during peak periods such as lunchtimes and weekend evenings, and have handed out fines for the dissuading of cigarette butts, crisp bags and take-away containers in recent weeks. Avoid being caught and fined for throwing rubbish away and dispose of your litter in the bins and cigarette disposal units provided.
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