Dog mess on playing fields still a problem says coach

PUBLISHED: 07:00 14 May 2016 | UPDATED: 09:05 17 May 2016

The  problem of dog mess on the ground has been reported before, with this picture taken in 2013. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref mhh 6679-44-13AW

The problem of dog mess on the ground has been reported before, with this picture taken in 2013. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref mhh 6679-44-13AW

Archant

One of the youth coaches at Honiton Rugby Football Club has launched a fresh call for action after spotting more and more dog mess on the field where its members play.

Steve Haysom recently had to clear up two piles of mess from Allhallows Playing Field before a match kicked off.

Mr Haysom, who lives in Honiton with his wife and son, says that although he cleared up the mess, he believes any residue left in the grass could be touched by a child, which could cause an illness.

He added: “This seems to be becoming a more and more regular occurrence.

“I was disgusted at having to do this - not to mention my concerns that, had I not spotted it, children of all ages could have ended up falling in it.

“My other concern is that, whilst the majority of owners pick up their dog’s mess, it is impossible to pick up all traces and there will always be a residue left.”

Mr Haysom says the situation with piles of dog mess has become so bad, when the club hosted a youth tournament two weeks ago, the club received several complaints from visiting teams.

He added that the club has to now allocate people to check the pitches before games, and at least one pile of dog waste is discovered on most occasions.

Mr Haysom added: “My frustrations are that we have a situation where dogs are exercised on a rugby field where you could have children aged seven or younger potentially falling into it.

“Personally, I think that dogs and rugby don’t mix - this is an area where children and adults play sport with a lot of contact with the ground and they could unknowingly be falling into the mess. As a club, we have a duty to ensure that children and adults are playing their sports in an environmentally healthy and safe area.”

A spokeswoman for East Devon District Council said the authority had sent letters to more than 400 residents twice last year, asking for their views on the situation, but received no response.

She said: “This suggests to us that the community do not consider this to be a significant issue.

“Indeed, officers have witnessed many local people exercising control 
over their dogs off the lead, 
picking up after their dogs and placing the waste in the many litter or dog bins around this field. The rugby club also put their own signs up pointing out the 
effect that dog waste can have on players.

“Dog waste is both unpleasant and hazardous and every dog owner is required to pick up after their dog wherever they walk it, so the control suggested by the club already exists.”

The spokeswoman added that the district council has ‘no plans at the moment’ to change the dog controls that already apply to the area.


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