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Council Reinforces the Hazards of Dog Fouling

2nd March 2009

The Highland Council is continuing its campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of dog fouling and is reminding owners that they can face a fixed penalty for not picking up their dogs mess.

Education and Enforcement Officer Peter Taylor said: "Dog fouling is both unsightly, unpleasant and a potential health hazard. Dogs commonly carry a parasite worm called Toxacara whose eggs are passed out with the faeces in to the soil. These eggs can last in the ground for up to two years, long after any outward sign of the fouling has gone, with each infected deposit containing up too two million eggs. The most common form of Toxocariasis is the covert type which has mild symptoms or may have no symptoms at all. Symptoms of this type of infection can be fever, cough, wheezing, headache and difficulty sleeping."

In the UK it is widely accepted that most parks and urban open green spaces are infected with the Toxocara worm in various stages of development and that up to 40% of the population may have been infected at some time without realising it. Although the worm cannot survive more than a few weeks in the human body before dying off, if it has got as far as the eye then an impairment of vision can occur, although this is very rare. All dog owners are advised to speak to their vet to ensure that their dog is properly wormed.

Chairman of The Highland Council's TEC Services, Councillor John Laing said: "Most dog owners do clean-up after their dogs but those who don't are having a negative affect on the standard of our public areas and are putting the health of other people at risk. I urge all dog owners to comply with the law and be responsible for clearing up after their dog. There really is no excuse not to bag and bin it and to help people the Council provides "scoop the poop" bags free of charge from our Service Points and dedicated bins in public areas."

The Dog Fouling (Scotland) Act 2003 is the key legislation which empowers the Council to issue fixed penalty notices. Anyone identified as failing to clean up after their dog is liable to receive a fixed penalty of 40, which rises to 60 if the penalty is not paid within 28 days.

 

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