Foul play - Dog faeces pose health hazard to rugby players

PUBLISHED: 12:52 28 August 2008 | UPDATED: 16:32 05 May 2010

Rugby club treasurer Chris Jones walks his dog Foster on the playing fields but makes sure he cleans up afterwards

Rugby club treasurer Chris Jones walks his dog Foster on the playing fields but makes sure he cleans up afterwards

IRRESPONSIBLE dog owners are endangering the health of sportsmen and women. That s the claim of Hitchin Rugby Club, based at King George V Playing Fields in the town, which says players are being put at risk by people who do not clean up after their pets.

IRRESPONSIBLE dog owners are endangering the health of sportsmen and women.

That's the claim of Hitchin Rugby Club, based at King George V Playing Fields in the town, which says players are being put at risk by people who do not clean up after their pets.

Club treasurer Chris Jones said: "As the season approaches, we want to highlight the real problem with dog fouling on the playing fields. Last season a player contracted a worm infection from dog faeces on the pitch."

Although North Herts District Council have supplied dog litter bins, and have posted dog fouling notices, the problem continues.

"There are lots of young kids out training - we have as many as 300 youngsters training and playing on a Sunday, and we have up to 100 seniors on a Saturday," added mr Jones.

"Someone tries to go out and clear it up, but it's a big space. Players are getting the stuff on their boots during training and referees are stopping matches to clear it away, which sounds funny but it really isn't.

"I walk my dog round there and dozens of others use it, but some dog walkers get together for a social chat while their dogs run around unsupervised.

"We just want owners to pick up the litter and use the bins."

NHDC portfolio holder for environmental health, Bernard Lovewell, said: "King George V Playing Fields is a popular public space for people to walk their dogs.

"Most dog owners are responsible people who make proper use of the dog bins which are provided for them. Unfortunately, however, an anti-social minority do not and I would urge them to act responsibly and make life more pleasant and safer for their fellow users.

"I would also remind people that they will be issued with a fixed penalty notice of £50 if they are caught allowing their dog to foul any public area."

However,a spokesman for North Herts District Council said there had been no fines issued in the last six months.

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