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MS urges Welsh Govt to ban dogs from sports fields

12 Jun 2023 3 minute read
Sioned Williams and Jamie Watkins. Inset: The injury caused to the 15-year old Trebanos RFC rugby player, Evan Davies

A Plaid Cymru MS has today urged the Welsh Government to ban dogs from sports fields, following incidences of  horrific injuries to players as a result of infections caused by dog fouling on pitches.

Sioned Williams MS was recently contacted by local Plaid Cymru councillors for Trebanos in the Swansea Valley who are campaigning following the case of a young rugby player suffering serious injury in Pontardawe.

The Plaid Cymru MS today called on the Welsh Government to do “all it can” to work with bodies across Wales to explore potential legal or legislative routes to help prevent dog fouling in sports fields and prevent injuries to sports players.

In February of this year, 15-year-old Trebanos RFC Junior Team player Evan Davies attended Neath Port Talbot Hospital Minor Injuries Unit after noticing a large, unusual swelling on his right shin and a bruised feeling for a couple of weeks in the same area.

It became clear that he was suffering from cellulitis and he was given antibiotics.

Three days later he saw a GP for an abscess that had developed as a result of the infection and was given more antibiotics, but two days later he had to be admitted into Morriston Hospital after the abscess burst, and underwent two operations under general anaesthetic, including a skin graft as the wound was so deep.

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South Wales West MS Sioned Williams said: “There have been too many instances of rugby and football players suffering horrific infections and injuries as in this case following a cut being infected by dog faeces left on pitches. Given the terrible and lasting harm this can cause, I believe more should be done to address the issue.

“However, when I wrote to the Welsh Government asking them to sort this out, I was disappointed by their reply. They referred to an awareness-raising campaign and that Local Authorities have the ability to ban dogs from certain public areas.

“While this is welcome, and some local authorities have imposed bans, many sports fields are leased by clubs from town and community councils for example, so I believe we need the Government to commit to working in partnership with all levels of local government, public bodies and organisations to look at how a Wales-wide ban on dogs from our sports fields could be achieved.

“Everyone should be able to take part in sports without having to worry about this kind of risk.”

Jamie Watkins, Chair of Trebanos RFC Junior Section, and Plaid Cymru Town Councillor for Trebanos said: “We must do more to protect our players from significant harm like this. Even now, some of the effects of the injury in this case are likely to be permanent.

“Evan has a deep scar, which he will have to ensure is deeply padded before any contact sports, and he is at risk of cellulitis reoccurring in the same area. This matter needs to be taken more seriously and dogs need to be banned from our sports fields.”

As well as carrying harmful bugs which can lead to infection, asthma and even blindness, many types of worm and bacteria can live in soil long after dog faeces has decomposed.


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Diawl Blin
Diawl Blin
9 months ago

OMG, I can’t cope. First a BNP plonker actually makes me feel sorry for Lee Waters, and now I find myself in agreement with Sioned Williams. My head, my head…

Can we please add parks to this? My kids don’t play in the park near our house any more (which has a football pitch in it) because the park is full of dogs, and their excrement.

In fact, just ban dogs.

Dai Rob
Dai Rob
9 months ago
Reply to  Diawl Blin

Agree a million % about the filthy dogs!

hdavies15
hdavies15
9 months ago
Reply to  Dai Rob

More a case of filthy owners. I’ve walked dogs for over 30 years and always carry the kit to bag and bin their droppings. In parkland and playing fields it’s quite easy to keep dogs outside the boundary of the playing surfaces and similarly keep away from kids swings etc where some people allow their mutts to c**k a leg against anything near vertical! Penalising offenders more harshly is part of the answer but won’t really sort the problem in its entirety until that segment of the public that doesn’t give a damn begins to respond to education on these… Read more »

Frank
Frank
9 months ago

I see dog owners sometimes pretending to pick up after their dogs and then there are those who pick up and when they think no one is looking sling the parcel into the brambles where they can be seen in autumn and winter hanging when the leaves have fallen. Then there are those who just ignore what their dogs have done and don’t care if they are seen doing so. Bring in fines of a £1,000 or more and a hefty dog licence should be reintroduced. Also, dogs should be on leads at all times when out for their walkies.

John Hammond
John Hammond
9 months ago
Reply to  Frank

Most definitely a dog licence for all dogs.

Geraint
Geraint
9 months ago

It is easy to say bring in a ban, but enforcement is very difficult. In a local historic park the trustees have asked that dogs are kept on leads. The abuse some staff and trustees sometimes get when they politely ask that dog walkers follow the rules is shocking. As one member of staff noted, to be verbally abused for doing their job was not on the job description.
I think most dog walkers are responsible, but there are a hard core who believe rules don’t apply to them and put the rest of us at risk.

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