RSPCA hits out at ban on dogs from sport pitches
Rhiannon James, local democracy reporter
RSPCA Cymru have hit out at a ban on dogs from sports pitches.
Dogs will be banned from marked sports pitches in Caerphilly County Borough after the council’s cabinet backed the proposal.
The ban will be added to the council’s existing Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO).
But RSPCA Cymru has expressed its disappointment at the decision, saying the ban makes it harder for dog owners to meet their pets’ needs.
The ban follows a public consultation which received 1,540 responses – 53.5% of which agreed that dogs should be banned from council-owned sports pitches in the borough.
Leader of the council, Cllr Philippa Marsden said the extension of the PSPO and addition of the permanent ban on dogs from sports pitches is to “protect public health and well being”.
The existing PSPO includes the following restrictions:
• Dogs are excluded from all enclosed children’s play and multi-use games areas.
• Dogs are required to be kept on leads in enclosed memorial gardens.
• Dog owners are required to remove dog faeces in public places.
• Dog owners are required to carry an appropriate receptacle for dealing with the waste that their dogs produce – that is to always have the means to pick up their dog faeces.
• Dog owners are required to put their dogs on a lead when directed to do so by an authorised officer on any public land where the dog is considered to be out of control or causing harm or distress to prevent a nuisance.
Cllr Nigel George, cabinet member for waste, public protection and street scene, said the PSPO ensures the community can use public spaces safely.
The ban is year-round and not designated to particular sport seasons.
RSPCA Cymru’s public affairs adviser Billie-Jade Thomas said: “We have engaged with the local authority’s recent consultation process and called for such a blanket ban not to be introduced.”
She added: “Everyone should want to see dog fouling tackled – and responsible owners should be picking up their pet’s mess.
“However, dog walkers in Caerphilly must already carry an appropriate receptacle to clean up after their dog – and we don’t think blanket bans like this are the way to deal with people already breaking the law; nor fair for the vast majority of law-abiding dog owners in Caerphilly who may value some of these walking sports to exercise their beloved canine companions.”
New signage to enforce the rule in designated areas will cost £2,000. This will be funded from the council’s existing environmental health budgets.
Cllr Colin Gordon, cabinet member for Corporate Services, said: “I think we need to put signage in areas that people are definitely going to see them.”
Cllr Marsden said: “Communications is really important on this, we need to work with our community.”
Rob Hartshorn, Head of Public Protection, Community and Leisure Services at the council said: “We will do some appropriate communications before we take any enforcement action.”
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