DOG owners who allowed their pets to foul on Peterhead streets and pavements during the wintry weather have been slammed by appalled pedestrians.
Thawing snow has revealed a vast volume of dog mess on some town centre footpaths provoking outrage among residents and shoppers alike.
While many owners have continued to bag their dog’s mess during the snow, it is clearly evident that many felt the white stuff would cover their pet’s faeces.
One irate woman told the Buchanie she had to don rubber gloves and scrub boots and bike tyres after a short trip down the Longate.
The woman, who did not wish to named, said: “I took my grandson out on his new bike which he got for Christmas and I was sickened by the amount of dog excrement on Longate and the North Street areas.
“We had to leave the pavement and go onto the road to avoid piles of the stuff and despite our best endeavours we still got excrement on our boots and the bike tyres.
“I had to put on rubber gloves and scrub our boots and the tyres which was frankly disgusting and in this day and age completely unnecessary.”
Pointing the finger squarely at irresponsible dog owners and not the animals themselves, the woman said: “If people want to own a dog then they have a moral duty to clean up after it - every time.
“I think it is appalling that they think it is okay to leave it in the snow in the mistaken belief it will just disappear.”
The woman highlighted the fact that many residents in the affected areas are vulnerable or elderly and may not be able to avoid stepping in the faeces.
During a walk round the Longate area where we counted more than 60 heaps of muck (a joyful job - Ed), the Buchanie spoke to dog owner Michael Davidson who also blasted inconsiderate pet owners.
He said: “Regardless of whether or not there’s snow on the ground it’s easy to clean up after your dog. I’ve stood in mess this week and I know folk who have discovered piles of the stuff when they have been shovelling snow off pavements outside their homes.”
And while there have been the usual grumbles about lack of gritting and snow clearances around the town, for once the finger is not being pointed at Aberdeenshire Council. Mr Davidson said: “Some will say it’s up to the council to clean it up - and I suppose they will have to now - but it’s unfair on them. They can’t be held responsible for ignorant folk.”
Aberdeenshire Council dog warden Alison Robertson reminded all dog owners of their responsibilities when it comes to disposing of their pet’s waste - but admitted the snow had posed problems.
She said: “The vast majority of dog owners are very responsible when it comes to properly disposing of waste.
“The snow has made it difficult to bag waste and the fact that it has been here for three or four weeks has compounded the problem. But that doesn’t in any way absolve those irresponsible dog owners who are simply not cleaning up at all.”
She reminded owners that dog waste can also be disposed of in any litter bin provided it is bagged - but in all cases air should be expelled from the bag to prevent bins being blocked up.
Fixed £40 penalties can be imposed by both dog wardens and community wardens for failure to not only pick up dog mess but failure to dispose of it responsibly in a receptacle.
In the event of a members of the public witnessing dog fouling then the wardens require the date, time and place and a description of the dog before the question of imposing a fine arises. Further details such as the owner’s name and address are valuable additions.
Poo bags are still available from the council’s Environmental Health offices on Broad Street priced £2 for 100, but nappy sacks or carrier bags will suffice.