PROPOSED changes in regulations could help rid Dunfermline parks of problem dogs.

Issues involving man's best friend are raised regularly at Central Dunfermline Community Council and MSPs this week branded current legislation as unfit for purpose.

After completing its review of the 2010 Control of Dogs Act, the Scottish Parliament's Public Audit and Post-legislative Scrutiny Committee has called on the Scottish Government to undertake an immediate review of dog control laws.

Among its recommendations is a call for local authorities to use by-law powers to create secure, dog-free play areas.

Community Council chairperson Jim Stewart is keen to see regulations tightened up.

"In the Glen, despite the new signage, dogs continue to chase the peacocks, and there have been several witnessed incidents," he said.

"In the public park, dogs had the run of most of the park, prior to the arrival of the new playpark. 

"Dogs, of course, don’t know any better, and may like a game of chase through the playpark as they always did.

"Not all children like dogs (and vice-versa), so I always put mine on the lead near to the area if there are children playing.

"Playparks can certainly be improved with a boundary, and there is some consideration of this in the new public park playpark."

Dunfermline Central councillor Garry Haldane said he was "all for" more controls and enforcement.

"I would be in favour of keeping dogs out of children’s play areas due to a few issues, fouling and aggression," he said.

"The main problem, as always, lies with the owners. The next is enforcement then comes the monetary element.

"If dogs were to be kept out of play areas, funding for the enforcement etc would need to come out of Central Government funding as council budgets have been slashed again and again and again. 

"Enforcement for the most common issue with dogs, fouling, is difficult to enforce and implement. Very few enforcement orders have been served to date. Responsibility lies with the owners being responsible. Owners cannot even do the simplest of tasks and keep their dog under control, as can be seen daily in all public grassed areas. 

"All aggression from dogs should be taken more seriously as one bite is one bite too many. Heavier penalties should be used and used whenever a report of aggression is made." 

Dunfermline MSP Shirley-Anne Somerville said it was important to ensure measures were in place to tackle irresponsible dog ownership.

“Whilst the majority of dog owners are responsible, there are a small number of people who do not keep their dogs under control," she said.

"I’m pleased that the Scottish Government has been clear in its commitment to continue to support the police and local authorities to help keep communities safe."

Fife Council lead officer (safer communities) Lisa Taylor said Fife was "very proactive" in dealing with potentially dangerous dogs and putting measures in place to protect people and animals.

She added: "We have issued more than double the number of dog control notices compared to the next best performing local authority.

“We will consider the outcomes of the review when available and continue to work to make our parks and play areas safe places to visit."