Environmental wardens in Queensferry and Kirkliston are being trained to help enforce new legislation to make people more responsible for the actions of their dogs.
The Control of Dogs (Scotland) Act 2010 gives the city council powers to work with dog owners to try to resolve issues being reported by members of the public.
If an owner fails to control or modify a dog’s behaviour following an advisory warning, a Dog Control Notice will be issued to try to remedy the matter before court action is required.
For the purposes of the act, a dog is considered to be out of control if its behaviour gives rise to alarm or apprehensiveness to an individual or the safety of another animal is compromised.
Failure to comply with the notice or to be found in breach of an order is a criminal offence, and if convicted, owners can be fined up to £1000. In the most serious cases the court can order the destruction of the dog if it is considered dangerous.
A report will be considered by the council’s health, social care and housing committee next Tuesday to agree the implementation of this approach.
Councillor Paul Edie, community safety leader at the city council, said: “The vast majority of dog owners in Edinburgh are very responsible and we receive relatively few complaints of this type. It is recognised, however, that if a dog is causing a nuisance this has the potential to escalate to become a serious issue.
‘‘The purpose of the new powers is to allow local authorities to intervene with owners of dogs at an early stage to prevent serious incidents occurring in the future.”