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Dog mess fears for rugby youths

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By Rod Edgar
Dumfries and West
Dog mess fears for rugby youths

‘CLEAN up your act’ is the call to dog owners causing fouling problems for Dumfries Rugby Club.

The call comes as one councillor says dog owners’ failure to address the problem may lead to the idea of dogs being banned from certain public areas.
Highlighting problems at Park Farm in Dumfries, Saints president Isobel Rainey said: “Our concern is health and safety, because we have these youngsters playing rugby and it is possible that they get a disease from dog dirt called toxocariasis which can cause blindness. So that concerns us.”
Noting that rugby club members are forced to clear faeces before children take to the pitch, Isobel added: “It’s not pleasant at all.”
Noting only a minority of dog owners are guilty, Isobel said: “It’s not that we don’t want people to use the area; we want people to be responsible and use the area responsibly.”
The fields are owned by Dumfries and Lockerbie Agricultural Society, who explain increasing numbers of dog walkers are using a right of way running through the site.
But chairman Keith Henderson said: “We don’t have an issue with that, other than a percentage of people walking their dogs are not cleaning up after them.
“And some that are picking up are leaving wee pokes lying in the hedge backs of dog poo, which someone’s got to clear up at some point.”
Mr Henderson says Dumfries and Galloway Council have been approached about installing a dog bin.
And both the society and rugby club are set to erect signs at Park Farm highlighting the problem.
Abbey Ward councillor Tom McAughtrie said: “It’s getting to the stage now where a lot of public places where children are playing and people are taking part in sport – they shouldn’t have to suffer that kind of thing.
“It’s going to come to the stage where we have to potentially look at banning dogs from these areas. If people can’t take care of their animals then they’re just going to spoil if for everybody.”
And addressing repeat offenders, he added: “If the same people get fined time again, if they can’t look after their animals they should be banned from having them.”

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