Proposed ban on dogs on sports pitches in Carmarthenshire unlikely as evidence doesn’t support it, says council
A PROPOSED ban on dogs on sports pitches in Carmarthenshire looks much less likely after the council said the evidence wasn’t there to justify it.
A council scrutiny committee had recommended a blanket dog ban on sports pitches last November and also a new offence of not having the means of clearing up mess while walking a dog.
Council officers then looked into the data and found that none of the 209 dog-fouling complaints recorded by the authority in 2022-23 related to sports pitches. They also said the council didn’t hold sufficient information on all community-owned playing fields and sports pitches in the county.
Cllr Aled Vaughan-Owen told the place, sustainability and climate change committee on July 21 that dog fouling on sports pitches did occur.
“As councillors we all know that this happens, but the data does not support this county-wide ban at the moment,” said the cabinet member for climate change, decarbonisation and sustainability.
He added that introducing such a ban, from a legal perspective, had to be evidence-based and proportionate.
However, the committee has stuck with its recommendation of the offence of not having the means of clearing up mess while walking a dog.
There was also a call for sports clubs, town and community councils and the wider public to report dog fouling on sports pitches to the authority so it could effectively enforce it. A toolkit will be developed to help community organisations in this regard.
Councillors said they were surprised the number of recorded dog-fouling incidents was so low.
Cllr Deryk Cundy, who represents Bynea in Llanelli, said: “It’s a major problem in my area.” He said it still occurred sometimes after additional dog waste bins were provided.
CllyCundy suggested that town and community councils could be trained to issue fixed penalty notices to dog-fouling offenders and keep the revenue, but Cllr Vaughan Owen said the authority didn’t want to put anyone in harm’s way.
There is a “public spaces protection order” in place in Carmarthenshire which requires owners to clear up after their dogs in public areas. The order bans dogs from enclosed play areas, and also allows council officers to instruct an owner to put their dog on a lead.
Cllr Gareth Thomas said he sometimes had a word with people who didn’t pick up their pet’s mess in his Hendy ward, with mixed results.
“Sometimes it works, sometimes you get abuse,” he said. “One person told me, ‘Go and pick it up yourself.’ And it was there, steaming.”
Burry Port councillor John James said it was his understanding from previous work on this subject that Dyfed-Powys Police community support officers had the power to enforce dog fouling, but the police force told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that this wasn’t the case.
The council has issued varying numbers of dog-fouling fines in recent years, according to a graph in the committee report – from a handful to above 30.
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