An Edinburgh councillor is calling for a Dog DNA register to be set up to tackle dog fouling across the capital.

The Conservative councillor tabled a motion on the problem at the Transport and Environment Committee on Thursday 16th November and calls for a report to be provided to the Committee presenting options to help combat dog fouling that includes improving enforcement, the use of Fixed Penalty Notices, and the practicalities of establishing a Dog DNA register for the city, how it could be enforced, likely costs to set up and run, and how much might be funded through issuance of fines.

The motion added that in 2021, only four fixed penalty fines were issued by City of Edinburgh Council reflecting the difficulties prosecuting under the current regime even though it only requires the evidence of one witness to justify a fine for dog fouling.

It also added that the number of dog fouling complaints raised by the public is low and mostly reflects apathy with lack of enforcement rather than concern about the problem.

The scheme would see dog owners having to register their pets with the council, allowing it to test samples of dog mess left in the street and issue fines accordingly.

Conservative Councillor Christopher Cowdy said efforts made so far by the authority to address the issue had not worked.

Councillor Cowdy admitted it “might take a couple of years” to get up and running but said Edinburgh could be the “vanguard for combating the national problem”.

He said: “I suppose I thought about a dog DNA test as being the only real way you can make out for definite whose dog did what.

“The general idea I’m thinking of is there would be an Edinburgh by-law that would require dog owners to register their dogs with the city council who would hold a database.

“You would be obliged to bring your dog, a DNA swab would be picked up from the dog and recorded on the database, and then if there could be a team of wardens searching for dog foul they would pick it up, take a test from it and hopefully track it down.”

He said: “There are obviously issues that most responsible dog owners pick up after their dog anyway, and irresponsible dog owners might not be inclined to register their dog in the first place.”

Councillor Scott Arthur, Transport and Environment Convener, said: “Tackling the issue of dog fouling is a priority for us – it’s unacceptable that a small minority of owners should leave dog’s dirt anywhere in the capital. 

“So I look forward to a report coming to a future committee exploring different ways of reducing this, on top of the work already being carried out by our Waste and Cleansing teams.”