An Angus councillor hoping to stamp out dog fouling has been told mobile CCTV cannot be brought into the fight because it would be an intrusion into the privacy of locals.
Montrose Independent Tommy Stewart said he was surprised to be told the problem is not regarded as a serious enough crime to bring in temporary cameras to catch offenders.
Residents in one local hotspot have now told him they plan to buy their own cameras to try to film those who let their pets foul paths and gardens on a daily basis.
“This is the bane of many people’s lives and we as councillors get it constantly from local people about how much of a problem it is,” said Mr Stewart.
“CCTV is supposed to be there to assist help catch incidents of criminal activity. It’s used for things like anti-social behaviour, but apparently this isn’t serious enough to put up temporary cameras that could have acted as a deterrent.
“It’s costing the council an absolute fortune to put people out and clean up after dog owners who won’t do it themselves.
“Yes, there are wardens, but unless they actually catch people when it is happening then it is very difficult to fine them.
“Many times, I have seen someone walking their dog off the lead and they are 20 or 30 yards in front of the dog, completely oblivious to what it has done.
“The area around Wellington Place, Links Avenue and Union Street is terrible – it’s like a circuit – but it’s a problem that is all over.
“If you go up to the beach area you can hardly go three or four yards without seeing a pile.”
He added: “I have always said the dogs owners have to take responsibility and I think if they had their dog on a lead they would know if it has stopped. But I would have hoped we could use CCTV to try and catch those who are letting this happen all the time.”
An Angus Council spokesperson said: “We recognise that dog fouling is both a danger to health and unpleasant.
“While using CCTV for covert surveillance is possible, the council will have to comply with the requirements of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers (Scotland) Act 2000.
“To this end, we have to justify the potential for significant intrusion into the private lives of members of the public caused by being filmed within the vicinity. As such, we currently aim to tackle the scourge of dog fouling through other measures.”
The spokesperson added: “While the majority of dog owners behave responsibly and pick up after their dogs, there are a minority who do not.
“We work closely with community groups and environmental health teams to raise awareness across the county.
“We’re also committed to campaigns such as ‘any bin will do’ which highlights that dog fouling can be disposed of in any general waste bin. We also ask the public to report anyone who they see not cleaning up after their dog.”