A SCOTS council is stepping up cemetery patrols because so many dog owners let their pets defecate on graves.
Dog walkers at Dunfermline Cemetery, Fife, are being blamed for the fouling of numerous graves and memorials.
The acts have been slammed as “extremely disrespectful” by local councillors, who say that there is also a significant health risk to children.
The council has decided to step up patrols and double fines for those who fail to clean up after their pet.
From the start of April, dog walkers who allow their pets to poo in the cemetery face an £80 fine, and those who repeatedly fail to take responsibility for the animals could face a maximum penalty of £500.
Spokesman for environment and transportation Cllr Pat Callaghan said: “Fife’s cemeteries and crematoriums are a place for people to go and remember their lost loved ones.
“It is unacceptable and extremely disrespectful for dog owners to allow their pets to foul on lairs.
“Our safer communities officers stepped up patrols in Dunfermline Cemetery just over a year ago and while there were some initial improvements, I’m disappointed that this has not had any long-term impact on the problem.”
He added: “Dog fouling can also pose a significant health risk, especially for children.
“I hope the increased presence of officers will once again demonstrate that the people of Fife will not tolerate dog owners who break the law.”
The council is urging residents to report offenders, and said a fixed penalty notice for dog fouling can be issued based on evidence provided by a reliable witness.
Cllr Callaghan said: “It’s unfortunate that many responsible dog owners feel tarred with the same brush as the few irresponsible owners breaking the law.
“As always, we’re thankful to the owners who clean up after their dogs and ensure they are kept under control in public places.”
In 2014, a grieving family who were visiting Dunfermline Cemetery to pay their respects at a baby’s grave were horrified to find it covered in dog mess.
Visitor Alexander Stewart said: “A pet owner allowing their dogs to foul on lairs is possibly one of the most disrespectful things they can do.”
That same year, Fife Council introduced thermal imaging patrols to catch out dog owners who allowed their animals to poo in the dark.