ISLANDS' DOGS SHOULD HAVE DNA TESTS, SAYS NEW COUNCILLOR
All dogs on the Isles of Scilly should be given mandatory DNA tests, according to the islands' newest Councillor.
Andrew Combes believes that the move will help identify dogs whose owners fail to dispose of their mess.
He made the comments in his response to the current consultation on the proposed new Public Spaces Protection Order aimed at dog control.
Cllr Combes wrote: "Dog fouling is a problem because of the difficulty of enforcement. If you know that you will get caught you will clear up after your dog. For any regime to work, effective methods of enforcement have to be placed at the core.
"The PSPO needs to include from the outset a requirement that any resident dog using an area covered by a PSPO should have a DNA sample registered with the authority. This then allows for the DNA testing of the offending waste."
He added: "Where authorities have adopted this approach the dog fouling problem has virtually stopped overnight."
Cllr Combes acknowledged that some people will blame visitors' dogs, which he described as "fiction", suggesting that the authority should introduce a two tag system, one for local tested dogs and one for visiting dogs.
He said: "Visiting dog owners are responsible and should be prepared to bear a modest charge for a visiting dog tag, especially if it is explained that the charge for this tag contributes to the maintenance of poo free islands.
"The charge could be used to subsidise DNA testing of local dogs and support the enforcement post."
The initial sample requires a saliva swab and registration reportedly costs in the region of £30. Testing a faeces sample costs £80, which would be recouped from the fine.
Cllr Combes added that once he is formally signed in as a Councillor he wishes to call a meeting to discuss the issue.