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Friday, June 21, 2024

Out of Control Dogs in Inverness

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An increase in incidents relating to dog control issues that includes dog attacks; aggressive dogs and straying dogs has been highlighted in a report to the City of Inverness Area Committee in the Environmental Health – Annual Report and Activity for 2023/24. 

The report explained that 152 reported incidents were recorded in the local Inverness Ward areas alone.

This included 50 reports of aggressive dogs, 28 dog attacks, and 7 dog attacks where a person was bitten.  

Leader of Inverness and Area Cllr Ian Brown said:

“It is extremely disappointing to hear the number and type of dog control issues that required investigation, and which undoubtedly will have caused a lot of distress and anxiety to people. 

“I fully support the efforts of the Environmental Health team in highlighting this issue and to promote responsible dog ownership.

“It is not acceptable for a dog owner to allow their dog to be out of control in such a way as it causes alarm or apprehension in people.

“I very much welcome the Environmental Health’s team intention to increase their pro-active patrols and enforcement work in this area over the coming year.” 

Also in the report to councillors was an increasing trend in the number of Environmental Health service requests with 3,825 carried out in 2023/24 within the Inverness area. 

These service requests were typically for advice from members of the public and businesses, and consultations and complaints from the public.

Members were informed that the rising trend in service requests reflects the increased statutory duties undertaken by the Service.  

The team was noted to have an important role in ensuring the Highlands maintains its reputation of a safe and healthy place in which to live, work and holiday.  

With much of Environmental Health’s work being pro-active and preventative – the team adopts a ‘4Es approach’ i.e. Engage, Explain, Encourage and Enforce when responding to cases.

This approach enables the Environmental health team to satisfactorily resolve most service requests and issues without the need to resolve to formal enforcement action.

A total 22 enforcement notices were served in 2023/24 for health and safety, food safety, dog control and environmental protection issues.

Examples of pro-active outreach work undertaken by the Environmental Health team include projects on air quality in schools and a public event for Clean Air Day.  

Officers met with P6/7 classes in Inverness schools and gave presentations to encourage a reduction in car idling at pick up times and highlighted how active travel can improve local air quality and health outcomes. 

The team is also planning a public display to go on show in Falcon Square to promote Clean Air Day – scheduled for 20 June 2024. 

On the matter of dog control and littering Councillors were informed that Environmental Health aim to increase the number of pro-active campaigns and targeted enforcement patrols over the coming year and requested feedback from Councillor on locations in their Wards particularly affected by dog fouling or littering. 

Members noted the current structure of the Environmental Health team and the range and volume of work undertaken in the Inverness city and area by the team and the Highland-wide issues impacting them such as the new, short term lets licensing regime and new licensing requirements for animal breeders. 

The Environmental Health – Annual Report and Activity for 2023/24 can be found on the Council’s website at this link

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