THOUSANDS of dog owners in Renfrewshire who fail to pick up after their pet have been getting off scot-free, new statistics show.

Since 2013, Renfrewshire Council has recorded 6,573 complaints or instances of dog fouling but just 228 have resulted in someone being handed a fixed penalty notice.

That means, over the past eight years, only 3.5 per cent of recorded incidents have ended up in someone being punished for the offence.

And so far this year, just one person has been fined for dog fouling, despite more than 300 reports coming in.

The data emerged following a Freedom of Information request from the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Renfrewshire councillors have now called for the local authority to get tougher on offenders and teach children more about responsible dog ownership.

Councillor Jim Sheridan, who represents Linwood, Houston and Crosslee, said an educational programme would get the message across.

He also wants more wardens on the streets to enforce the rules.

“There’s no doubt we need additional resources,” said the former MP.

“I do not think I have ever seen a warden out and about and it would be helpful if we could get more of them out.

“I think we also need an educational programme to teach kids about responsible dog ownership and get the message out there that, if you are seen not picking up after your dog, you will be fined.

“Dog fouling is disgusting and there is no excuse for it. There are ample dog bins available.”

Pet owners who don’t pick up after their pooch can face a fine of £80.

Council bosses have said catching dog owners who flout the rules can be complicated.

A spokesman added: “We’re working hard to change the behaviour of dog owners who fail to pick up after their dog.

“We have been highlighting the issue in hotspots with additional signage, stencilling on the pavement and increased warden patrols.

“Unfortunately, to issue a fine we need to catch the person in the act, which can be difficult, but we will continue to do all we can in terms of enforcement.

“These stats do take into account reports by our own teams when they come across instances of dog fouling and each one is investigated and cleared by our teams.”