Cricket club pleads with dog owners to take pets elsewhere to stop faeces issue

PUBLISHED: 17:00 14 June 2018

Di Hassan and Graham Lovesey.

Di Hassan and Graham Lovesey.

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A village cricket club believes dog faeces left on its outfield is putting youngsters at risk of developing a nasty infection, prompting calls for owners to take their pets elsewhere.

Congresbury Cricket Club is appealing to the ‘morals’ of dog owners who take their pets to the King George V Playing Fields, in Stonewell Drive, in a bid to ensure the safety of children.

The club fears youngsters are at risk of contracting toxocariasis, an infection caused by larvae from worms found in dog excrement which can cause blindness, as it is ‘regularly found’ on the outfield.

Dogs are allowed on a lead at the cricket club, but owners with pets running free risk being slapped with a £75 fine under North Somerset Council’s Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs).

But the club wants pet owners to avoid taking them to the playing field altogether.

Club member Graham Lovesey, who helps around the ground, says grass is still contaminated, even if owners clear up faeces.

He said: “If you’ve been out in the field for several hours without washing your hands and picking up the ball, you don’t know what it’s been through.

“We’ve got 47 youngsters aged six and above here every Friday night, as well as league matches.

“They’re playing in an area where we regularly find faeces, or where owners have picked it up.

“I accept the rules, but many dogs aren’t on leads and miles away from their owners, who have not got a clue what the dog’s doing.

“People don’t realise there is a medical concern. Would you be happy with your children playing ball games where the grass could be contaminated?”

Congresbury Parish Council has backed the cricket club.

Chairman Di Hassan said: “We’re asking dog owners to realise there are plenty of other areas where they can exercise their dogs.

“Even though legally they are allowed, morally they might reconsider where they go.

“The fields are an area in the village where children can be active, and we want it to be safer.”

Cllr Hassan told the Mercury the parish council requested dogs be banned from the playing fields when PSPOs came into force in 2017, and she hopes the rules are tightened when reviewed in 2020.

She added: “A warden from North Somerset fined an owner £75 for not having a lead. That’s quite an expensive dog walk.”

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