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Dog Fouling on Private Land

Where dog owners allow dog dirt to build up in their own garden or land, which is likely to cause odour and fly problems, neighbours can take private legal action. Environmental Health does not routinely investigate complaints made about fouling in private gardens. Different laws apply to fouling in public places.

We expect dog owners to clear up after their dogs each day. If you find that your neighbour is not cleaning up dog dirt in their garden on a regular basis you can take a private action against them in the Sheriff Court under Section 82 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. (See Statutory Nuisance law for more information).

You may also report the problem to Environmental Health. We can be contacted by phone or e-mail. However, Environmental Health no longer routinely investigates complaints about dog fouling in private gardens.

Where fouling is in a public place, it should be reported to the Environmental Education/Enforcement Officers.

What will happen once I report a problem?

Environmental Health no longer routinely investigates complaints about dog fouling in private gardens. We will:

  • acknowledge your complaint; and
  • write to the dog owner advising that the dog foul should be removed on a daily basis.

Only if other prioritised work permits will we investigate. In this case, an officer will contact you to arrange a visit to witness the dog dirt in your neighbour's garden. If action is warranted a warning letter will be sent to the dog owner giving them 14 days to clean up the dog dirt. We also advise the dog owner that dog dirt should be removed on a daily basis.

An officer will re-visit 14 days after the warning letter is initially sent to the dog owner. If there has been no improvement and the officer views there to be a Statutory Nuisance law, the council are required by law to serve an Abatement Notice under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (opens new window). If the abatement notice is not complied with this may result in:

  • a Fixed Penalty Notice of £150,
  • a report being sent to the Procurator Fiscal, and / or
  • Environmental Health arranging for the dog dirt to be removed and the owner being being billed for the work.

Please note that if the the dog(s) concerned or their owner(s) cannot be proven to the required standard, it is not possible to take action against them. Formal action, if taken, in these situations is against the owner(s) of the land where there is a Statutory Nuisance law. In situations involving shared or communal gardens, this can mean action being taken against all owners, including the complainant if they are a joint owner.

Minor accumulations which cannot be viewed as a Statutory Nuisance law cannot result in formal enforcement action.