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Dog owners advised to buy own poop bags

Date: 13 May 2024

Graphic - dog walker placing bag of dog poop in a bin.

Dog owners advised to source dog poop bags as Council phases out free provision.

Orkney Islands Council is advising the public and community groups that it is no longer stocking or distributing free dog poop bags.

Dog owners can instead purchase bags at many local retailers.

Green dog waste bags have been provided free of charge since 2009, costing the Council £30k in the last seven years (since 2016).

Now, faced with the increasing budgetary pressures and a Council-wide savings target of £9m over the next three years, the provision of free dog waste bags is being phased out by OIC, with stocks now mostly exhausted at previous pick-up points in the community.

Many people have indicated they are supportive of the move away from the Council providing dog poop bags for free.

In OIC’s budget survey carried out earlier this year, people were asked: “We are considering charging for green dog waste bags. What would you prefer?” - with responses to three options as follows:

  • Stop providing dog waste bags at all as they can be purchased locally - 34.22% 
  • Provide them but charge for them - 40.11% 
  • Keep providing them and don’t charge for them - 25.67% 

In a nutshell, almost 75% of people said they’d prefer to see the Council either not provide them at all, or charge for them - with many commenting that dog poop bags are inexpensive and readily available at local shops.

Nick Long is Service Manager of Environmental Health for OIC and says it’s vital all dog walkers continue to pick up after their dogs:

“It’s really important to pick up after your dog. Dog mess left on the ground is unsightly,  smelly, and  a huge inconvenience for anyone unfortunate enough to step in, sit on, or wheel over – and of course it’s also hazardous to human health, especially for peedie folk.

“When it comes to disposing of dog waste, remember it can be an offence to not pick up - ‘bag that poo, any bin will do’.” 

Hayley Green, Corporate Director of Neighbourhood Services and Infrastructure, added: “We do appreciate that some will be disappointed by the phasing out of free dog poop bags, but after several years of the scheme it is now time for dog owners to be fully responsible for having poop bags with them, and support local businesses by sourcing their poop bags there. People who often donate items to food banks might consider adding dog poop bags and other pet supplies to their shopping list.”

The majority of dog owners in Orkney do pick up after their dogs, but it only takes a few negligent owners to create a real mess.

The best thing you can do to help reduce dog poop in public places is to be a responsible dog owner yourself by cleaning up after your dog - and gently encouraging friends and family to do the same. You may even consider carrying spare poop bags for forgetful fellow dog walkers.

For more information about dog fouling and how to report it, visit the dog fouling page on the Council website

  • Summary:

    Dog owners and community groups are being advised the Council is no longer stocking or distributing dog poop bags, after 15 years of providing them for free.

  • Category:
    • Waste and Recycling
    • Environmental Health
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