No happy dog tale in Lauder as under-threat wardens are criticised

SCOTTISH Borders Council’s threatened warden team have been accused of ignoring Lauder’s dog fouling problem in favour of other towns in the region.

Window cleaner David Miller said the royal burgh is littered with dog dirt, and demanded further action to tackle the issue.

However, that looks unlikely should the local authority scrap the warden service at Newtown today, as proposed in its budget for the next five years.

Mr Miller, who owns a Labrador and a cocker spaniel, told TheSouthern: “It just seems to me that the wardens have targeted the likes of Galashiels, Peebles and Selkirk, but forgotten about us. “There have been signs put up, but they are no deterrent to 
anyone.

“We need the wardens to come up here between 6am and 8am and 4pm and 6pm when most people walk their dogs.

“But instead they come up at 2pm, which is pointless as hardly anyone is around.

“It is absolutely shocking the amount of dog dirt lying around the town.”

Problem areas include Castle Wynd and the Public Park, according to Mr Miller, 51.

He told us: “A council scaffy cart came up to clear it, but within three weeks the town was covered again. There have even been instances of dog dirt in the middle of the pavement on the High Street.

“The football pitch in the Public Park in particular is shocking – if I was a footballer I would not want to play there.”

Mr Miller, who said he previously applied for a vacant post with the warden team, added: “At the moment the service is not being run properly.

“They should be talking to people and asking if they have carrying bags, and if they are not, offering to provide some and telling them to do so.”

Mr Miller’s complaints are the latest in a long line surrounding dog fouling across the Borders.

Last month, TheSouthern reported on the late cancellation of a rugby fixture in Peebles because the pitch was covered in dog excrement.

And fouling seems widespread in Jedburgh, judging by comments on TheSouthern’s Facebook page (below left).

However, SBC’s executive member for environmental services, Councillor David Paterson, says the wardens are well aware of the dog fouling problems in Lauder.

Having received six complaints about the state of Castle Wynd, SBC cleaned the road, but failed to find the culprit.

“It is an ongoing problem across the Borders, not just Lauder,” added Mr Paterson.

The removal of the eight-strong warden team from 2014/15 will save the council £264,000 per year, with the workers redeployed to other council services, should today’s proposal go through.

If it does, Mr Paterson says more onus will be placed on the public to stop dog fouling.

He told us: “I wish we didn’t have to scrap the service, but hard decisions have to be made.

“It is not a statutory function of the council and the situation has got so serious that we need to consider what is statutory and what is not.

“We need the public’s support – if you witness someone letting their dog foul, get in touch with the council.

“We have managed to charge a couple of people recently after tip-offs.

“The responsibility lies with the dog owners.”