Buchan residents are being asked to take the lead in tackling dog fouling in their community with a new initiative being rolled out to a number of communities.
The Clean Dog Walkers Initiative is community led and seeks to support and empower people to address dog fouling within their local area.
It involves dog walkers becoming part of the initiative through a pledge which includes an agreement to always pick up after their dog, dispose appropriately of dog waste and encourage other dog owners to do so.
Support is provided through the provision of free dog waste bags, promotional dog tags along with leaflets and posters to help community groups get the message across.
A recent pilot in New Pitsligo was supported by members of the community, the local community council and Aberdeenshire Council’s environmental health service.
New Pitsligo community council sectretary, Sheila Joss, said: “We launched the pilot at our village Spring Fayre and the response was very positive”.
The initiative has now been rolled out in other communities including Maud, New Deer and Buchanhaven in Peterhead.
Councillor Anne Allan, on behalf of the Buchan Community Safety Group which is supporting the scheme said: “This is about members of the community taking responsibility for their local environment and having a sense of local pride in it.
“That goes for dog owners acting responsibly as well as the community helping us by reporting irresponsible dog owners to the Council if they see them failing to pick up after their dog”.
David Cooper from Aberdeenshire Council’s environmental health service added: “The council has a role to provide clear information to the community about the responsibilities of dog owners, including the correct way to dispose of dog waste.
“The best way to reduce this problem is through prevention in the first place rather than prosecution. Most dog owners do the right thing and pick up after their dog but those who don’t spoil it for the rest of the community.”
Material supporting the Clean Dog Walkers Initiative, including posters, leaflets and free dog waste bags is available from the reception at Arbuthnot House in Peterhead.
Alternatively for more information, contact dog warden Alison Robertson on (01779) 483812.
The Viewpoint Citizens’ Panel is also helping address the issue. The current Viewpoint survey is looking to gather Aberdeenshire residents’ views about dog fouling.
Erika Skinner, who manages Viewpoint said “For this year’s community safety survey we thought we’d put a bit of focus on the issue to gather some more information that may help identify those solutions that would work best.”