Honiton rugby club abandons training after children end up covered in dog poo
PUBLISHED: 10:31 29 January 2019 | UPDATED: 09:17 06 February 2019
A rugby training session in Honiton had to be cancelled after four children ended up covered in dog faeces.
The foul incident happened after a ball was dropped in a pile of poo while Honiton Rugby Football Club’s (RFC) under-10s were training at Allhallows playing fields last Wednesday (January 23).
Four children ended up with poo smeared over the hands and their kit, and were immediately sent home. It happened only a week after one rugby club refused to attend a match in Honiton due to concerns that the fields would contain faeces.
Jerry Rice, secretary of the Honiton RFC, said he was ‘saddened’ that the club had such a reputation, but aired his frustrations that it was facing the same battle year after year.
However, East Devon District Council (EDDC) said the authority’s efforts have increased public awareness and reduced the incidence of fouling.
Mr Rice said: “We are very disappointed that this has happened again and we have a reputation with the other clubs as having poo on our pitches.
“I do not know how many times we have to say ‘Surely this is not right!’ There should not be any discussion about it - this issue goes beyond rugby.
“The fields are used throughout the year - they are just not compatible with dogs.
“Owners may say they clear up after their pets, but what if one had an upset stomach - you’d never be able to clear it all up.”
Mr Rice revealed that all of the club’s coaches have now armed themselves with poo bags as they continue to tackle the fouling problem at Allhallows.
The EDDC spokesman said: “We have given the rugby club clear advice over the past three years that if they were to fence at least the main pitch then it would be possible to consult the community about banning dogs in that area.
“We have also given advice about the need to check both pitches for dog mess whilst the current situation prevails, as the rugby pitches are part of the overall open space which is used by the whole community.”
EDDC said dogs cannot be prohibited from any areas that are not fenced, and it had hoped the club would have arranged for the fencing during 2018.
The spokesman added: “Our observations of the area are that the level of fouling on the green space is very low, and the community as a whole makes great efforts to clear up after their dogs to protect the children living there.
“Therefore checking the pitch before training or games should be quite easy to do and would be regarded as a reasonable endeavour before any use.”