Cricket club calls for owners to keep dogs away as field covered in faeces

PUBLISHED: 16:19 13 June 2018 | UPDATED: 16:19 13 June 2018

Di Hassan and Graham Lovesey.

Di Hassan and Graham Lovesey.

Archant

Villagers are appealing to the ‘morals’ of dog owners in a bid to ensure safety for young cricketers who could be at risk of contracting a nasty infection.

Congresbury Cricket Club is calling for dogs not to be walked at the King George V Playing Fields, in Stonewell Drive, so children are not at risk of coming into contact with dangerous faeces.

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

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).

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’s appeal.

Chairman Di Hassan said: “We’re asking dog owners to hear our concerns and realise there are plenty of other areas where they can exercise their dogs. Perhaps they ought to think ‘we won’t take the dog to the cricket pitch or the football pitch’.

“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 Times the parish council requested dogs be banned from the playing fields when PSPOs came into force in 2017, but she hopes the rules are tightened when reviewed in 2020.

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

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