Control of Dogs in Parks, Cemeteries and Open Spaces

At Monday evening's Environment Committee there was an important report on the Control of Dogs  in Parks, Cemeteries and Open Spaces.  This report sets out a lot of what the Environment Department is thinking about doing in relation to dogs.  I think that people should read this and comment on it.  I want to hear the views of the people of Dundee on the issue of dogs, what do you think needs done?

I welcome the report which was brought forward on Monday evening particularly as I have to say that problems with dogs in open spaces across the city are being raised with me more often now.  Some of the changes brought about by the Land Reform Act in 2003 are good but we need to look to see if these are working in reality and if we need to go back to our MSPs and say that there are unintended consequences of this law and it needs revisited.

I think also that it is important to take a step back and look at what we doing in all areas of policy around dogs.  I hope that this will be a process which listens to the views of the people in Dundee.  It is important that we listen to those people who are complaining about the actions of irresponsible dog owners.  It is also important that we listen to the views of responsible dog owners.

The Council needs to ensure that there are sufficient resources in this area of policy.  I regularly receive complaints about a lack of dog waste bags and too few animal wardens.  This is an area which really upsets people and it is important that we deal with unruly dogs and with the issue of dog fouling.  This is a public health issue and the council must take it seriously.

The report gives a list of places where free dog waste bags are available and the Administration must be clear with their intentions with regard to the continuation of free dog waste bag provision.  I read in Monday night's Evening Telegraph a letter which highlights the fact that you cannot get free dog waste bags at Dawson Park, yet I have been approached by the coach of a football team based at Dawson Park who says that there is a problem with dog fouling on the pitches there.  How does having pitches covered in dog poo help us to allow these young people in this football team achieve their potential?  Has the council got this policy right?

We also need to consider what we are doing with regard to dangerous dogs.  It seems to me that legislation is currently aimed at dealing with the consequences of dangerous dogs rather than trying to eliminate the problem.  Whilst this is beyond the powers of the council, it is the council that is in the front line in this area of policy and we should be using our experience to influence policy development.  My colleague Jenny Marra has been campaigning for better legislation around dangerous dogs and I think that there is some merit in looking at this further.

I look forward to further reports on this issue and I hope that the people of Dundee will influence the policy of the council on dogs in public spaces.  I want to hear what people think about this, if you have any views on this get in touch with me richard@richardmccready.org.uk