FARMERS are due to submit a petition to parliament in a bid to tackle the issue of dog fouling on agricultural land.

Members of the National Farmers Union Scotland want their land to be included in legislation which imposes fines on people caught out failing to clean up after their pets.

The union said it had been in discussion with local farmers on the issue and will submit a petition to the Scottish Parliament to ask for agricultural land to be included in the Dog Fouling Act 2003.

Nigel Don, MSP for Angus North and Mearns, said irresponsible dog ownership can be a serious issue in rural areas, causing stress to livestock and increasing the risk of disease.

He said: "Dog fouling is a problem for us all with many irresponsible dog owners just refusing to pick up their own dog's mess which is a problem in towns and cities.

"I suspect that many responsible dog owners are unaware that it is equally important to pick up after their dog while on agricultural land.

"I hope that the NFU discussion will raise awareness for all owners."

Penalty payments under the existing legislation are set at £40, but anyone who does not pay can be hit with a charge of up to £500.

However, the Act does not include agricultural or moorland, with farmers saying this leaves their livestock at risk of disease.