DNA testing should be used on dog mess to catch out owners who don’t clean up after their pets, a Conservative MSP has said.
Murdo Fraser, MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, says use of DNA sampling kits would allow wardens to track down irresponsible dog owners who routinely let their pets foul pavements and parks.
He is also calling for the Scottish Government to increase fines for dog fouling and for special constables to have the power to issue fixed penalty notices.
Hi-tech DNA sampling kits are commercially available for around £35, and came on the market earlier this year.
Schemes like the one Fraser proposes are already in use in the US, Italy and Germany.
Several local authorities in the UK have expressed an interest, with council bosses Lancashire reported to be in discussions with forensic vets.
Currently, councils need the consent of dog owners to obtain DNA samples, but local bylaws could be used to force them to take part.
One the dogs are on the database any stray mess can be linked to them for their lifetime.
Fraser said: “Unless dog wardens catch irresponsible pet owners in the act they can’t issue fines.
“If a member of the public reports a dog fouling incident there is little that can be done.
“These tests would allow wardens to take a sample of the dog’s DNA and use it to prove whether the owner was responsible for not clearing up.”
He is also calling for a campaign to raise awareness of the health effects of children’s exposure to dog mess.
Councillor Dennis Melloy, of Alyth, Perthsire, said: “My postbag is full of complaints about dog fouling.
“It is the same people who allow it to happen. Drastic measures need to be taken to address what is a major problem.”