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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Well done Cyngor Caerffili
Absolutely. Can Conwy do the same please?
In Scandia there are enclosures where dogs can run free, generally one for large and the other for little ones. There aren’t that many but seems a good idea for Cymru too?
Also, pups are now injected with a data chip (Finland). So, this Caerffili move is a very
modest one, which should be applied throughout Cymru.
Perhaps if the dog owners had been more dilligent at removing their dog’s poo this might not have been been necessary?
Here’s the thing, even if removed the trace remains, so a health hazard.
Children’s parks and sports fields are not places for dogs. I’m wholly with Caerffili on this matter.
If the ban really limits the availability of dog-emptying spots then the RSPCA has to work with the council to provide alternatives.
As far as the owners’ responsibility goes, hanging a little plastic bag on a fence or branch doesn’t constitute cleaning up, and who now is happy to let their children kick through the drifts of autumn leaves?
It’s not always the dog. A local pub’s ‘customers’ have left their ‘muck’ outside after a binge where I live. Council not interested.
I agree; that was what I was driving at in the third paragraph. It’s irresponsible owners who are to blame. Dogs just do what comes naturally.
Good. A policy that should be adopted by every council in Wales, along with all beaches.