|DNA set to expose illegal dog foulers|
Glasgow’s high profile campaign against litter louts has produced some impressive results since launching two years ago, with more than 11,000 fines issued.
For if the German experience is successful it could well be the city’s dog owners who are next in the sights of the Council's cleanliness police.
Last month, lawmaker Peter Stein from Rostock in eastern Germany became the latest politician to call for DNA testing of dog poo in order to identify the canine culprit and fine owners for not picking up after their pooch.
Stein, a conservative Christian Democratic state parliamentarian in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, said that under his proposal, officials would test the faeces and then match it up with the offending dog using a DNA database of all canines.
Currently, German dog owners are fined 30 to 40 Euros if they fail to clean up after their pets but very few people are ever caught. Only four fines were given out in Stein's hometown last year. The city has 200,000 residents and 6,500 registered dogs.
If he is successful though, it may be Scotland's east coast which follows the German lead first.
The performance of Edinburgh's environmental wardens is lamentable. Each of the city’s 32 strong team of wardens issued just one fine every quarter for dog fouling, despite widespread complaints about the problem. The wardens cost the council around £600,000 per year but make less than three per cent of that money back from issuing the £50 fixed penalty notices.
But with it estimated to cost up to 200 Euros per dog to register and process, critics complain DNA itesting is not the most cost effective way of dealing with a problem that many see as the most anti social of all littering offences.
Yes, according to Mr Stein and it’s the dog owners who will pick up the tab.
So as well as the vet bills, pedigree chum and the annual kennel charge, responsible owners may soon be stumping up to introduce a system aimed at cracking down on the shortcomings of those less conscientious so called dog lovers.
But with the German state parliament also considering giving a 20 Euro reward to people who report on dirty dogs and their owners, they might not see the idea as quite as barking after all.