DOGS running free on sports pitches and play areas in the Borders could be a thing of the past if the Scottish Government supports Scottish Borders Council’s request for an amendment to the Dog Fouling (Scotland) Act 2003

The request follows a motion from Galashiels Liberal Democrat, councillor Hannah Steel, which was unanimously support by the local authority.

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At the latest Council meeting, members were in full agreement that something must be done about dog fouling on sports pitches and children’s play areas, a very annoying and persistent type of anti-social behaviour.

Currently the law requires dog owners to pick up their dog’s faeces and dispose of them, but there is no law in place to stop dogs doing the toilet on sports pitches or play areas in the first instance.

This addition to the Act would make it an offence to allow dogs to defecate on sports pitches and play areas.

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Kelso, Conservative councillor Tom Weatherston said” “We are not saying we want to see dogs banned from the whole park, but we need to make it clear, in the 21st century it’s not right that dogs are fouling on sports pitches and children’s play areas, and that’s what we’re trying to change.

“Unfortunately even the most responsible of dog owners cannot effectively remove all traces when they are clearing up after their dog. As well as this being anti-social, it also carries a risk to health.”

Councillor Hannah Steel said: “The ongoing problem of dog owners and walkers allowing their dogs to defecate on sports grounds and play parks is unacceptable and something really must be done to stop it, it’s long overdue.

“I welcome the support from members and thank Scottish Borders Council for their actions in writing to the Scottish Government.”

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Chief Executive David Robertson, in his letter to the Scottish Government on 5 April said: “While it is recognised that it is the minority of dog owners who do not pick up after their dogs, the message is clear all dog owners and dog walkers should keep their dogs off sports grounds and play areas and to ensure there is a proper deterrent in place if this does not happen.”

The letter asks that the Scottish Government support the proposed addition to the Dog Fouling (Scotland) Act 2003, which will protect not only children and those using play areas and sports pitches in the Scottish Borders, but all such users across Scotland.