Football club tackles dog fouling

A YOUTH football club is tackling the problem of dirty dog owners who allow their animals to foul tournament and training pitches.Members of the Shrublands club, which provides sport for over 200 youngsters in around a dozen teams, are fed up having to comb every square inch before play, sometimes harvesting up to 40 deposits in one go from their borough council-owned training ground in Suffolk Road.

A YOUTH football club is tackling the problem of dirty dog owners who allow their animals to foul tournament and training pitches.

Members of the Shrublands club, which provides sport for over 200 youngsters in around a dozen teams, are fed up having to comb every square inch before play, sometimes harvesting up to 40 deposits in one go from their borough council-owned training ground in Suffolk Road.

Vice-chairman Darren O'Grady said he was very concerned about the health hazard aspect of playing on soiled ground at Southtown Common and that the problem was getting worse, the referee having stopped play on two occasions to clean the ball.

He said: “We feel as a club that there is a real danger to these players that cannot be ignored. In my own personal experience I have seen instances of owners blatantly leaving dogs' mess on the pitches.

“Just after Christmas, when there was a break in the playing season due to bad weather, we had to remove over 40 pieces of dogs' mess on one pitch alone.

“I do not think we can be alone in saying that this is clearly unacceptable and sadly far from being an isolated circumstance. Other instances include owners allowing dangerous dogs such as pit bull terriers loose on the field while young children are playing. Surely it can only be a matter of time before there will be a serious incident.

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“As a club we have tried a number of initiatives to apply pressure in the relevant areas. In some cases it is simply not safe to confront those people. We have contacted the council but this has had very little impact.”

A petition calling for council action has been launched and is gathering signatures.

However a spokesman for the environmental rangers who regularly patrol the area said the problem was no worse at Southtown Common than anywhere else, adding: “We are doing everything we can without camping out 24/7. It is impossible to get a camera there because it is such a big area.”

She added that a “visual” sweep had yielded three dollops.