Council staff in Aberdeenshire are being retrained to help hard-pressed dog wardens in the fight against dog fouling.
Communities continue to be blighted by owners who fail to pick up after their pets, despite provision of bins and poster campaigns.
With the authority only able to call upon a limited number of wardens, it has afforded additional powers to community waste officers, enabling them to give out fixed penalty notices.
It comes as the city and shire councils last week admitted “increasing difficulty” in dealing with dog mess.
Dog wardens have to either catch people in the act or receive enough information on owners to take action.
Now an increasing number of staff will be authorised under the Dog Fouling (Scotland) Act to clamp down on offenders.
One community taking an interest is Stonehaven, where residents have been angered by dog mess on coastal paths.
Councillor Sarah Dickinson has taken part in numerous beach cleans and social media campaigns in a bid to reduce litter, including that from dogs.
She said: “I welcome the decision to have more council staff trained to issue fixed penalty notices for dog fouling. It is a positive step that will make a contribution to addressing this issue.
Fellow councillor Dennis Robertson, who has a guide dog called Murphy, believes it is “vital” dog fouling be properly tackled, but said staff would require appropriate training to deal with the public in the case of altercations.
In England, council staff have increasingly been used to combat community problems such as dog fouling and fly-tipping.
Dozens of council staff in Durham have been trained-up to tackle dog fouling, including some of the council’s senior officials.
An Aberdeenshire Council spokesman said: “We are continually looking at ways of tackling dog-fouling, but ultimately it is the responsibility of dog owners to pick up and dispose of their pets’ waste appropriately.
“We can confirm our community waste officers are authorised to take action against offenders and will now be in a position to issue fixed penalty notices.”