Sioned Williams MS has written to Neath Port Talbot Council asking them to explore the possibility of a Public Space Protection Order to cut down on dog fouling on sports fields.
Earlier in the year, a 15 year old Trebanos RFC player suffered a serious injury caused by dog fouling on a sports field. There are other cases where players have suffered life changing or life threatening injuries.
After this and other cases had been brought to Sioned’s attention, she urged Welsh Government to work with bodies across Wales to explore legal or legislative routes to help prevent dog fouling in sports fields and prevent injuries to sports players. Following the response, Sioned Williams said;
“Everyone should have be able to take part in sports without worrying about this kind of easily avoidable risk. When I asked Welsh Government, I was disappointed by their reply but took the opportunity to investigate further what action had been taken by some, and what action could be taken within the South Wales West region.”
Other local authorities have introduced restrictions on where dogs are permitted to go on, including Gwynedd and Flintshire Council, with Monmouthshire Council currently considering taking similar action with the aim of reducing dog fouling along streets, children’s playgrounds and sports pitches.
In Gwynedd, the Council has stated that the policy seems to have achieved some success in positively changing the behaviour of dog owners.
“What we see from other parts of Wales is that where this is tried, it helps to raise awareness of the dangers this poses and encourages a change of behaviour. While I understand that there will be challenges around enforcement, I think this is something worth exploring and pleased that in their response Neath Port Talbot Council have committed to doing that.”
In their response, Neath Port Talbot Council said:
“I can confirm that Neath Port Talbot Council, Waste Enforcement section operate dog fouling patrols across the whole of the county borough, with patrols also covering sports fields. During these patrols, appropriate enforcement action is taken against offenders who fail to pick up after their dog, under the Dogs (fouling of land) Act 1996.”
“At present, the Council does not have a Public Space Protection Order in place preventing the presence of dogs on all sports fields; however, officers will now undertake some feasibility work in line with your request.”