Monday, 20 September 2010

Dog fouling on playing fields puts youngsters at risk

A tiny minority of dog owners are putting children's health at risk by allowing their pets to foul playing fields.

That's the view of Councillor Marc Jones, of Whitegate ward in Wrexham, after watching his son play football on a local pitch at the weekend. He said:

"The pitch next to Whitegate Industrial Estate has to be checked every week by a man with a spade before each game. It's disgusting that owners have allowed their dogs to foul the pitch without cleaning it up.

"I'm a dog owner myself and it's not rocket science to take a bag with you when you're taking the dog for a walk. I'm concerned that kids playing football on this pitch could be at risk of developing toxocara canis, which is found in dog mess and can in some cases cause blindness. Only a fortnight ago a young girl in Manchester suffered an eye infection due to dog fouling in a local park - she could lose her eyesight as a result. I don't want the same thing happening to a child here.

"As a parent, I don't want to put my sons at risk of this while they're playing football or rugby."


Cllr Jones said the problem of dog fouling was a general concern in the Wrexham area and was a priority for action by both the police and local council. He stressed that it was an irresponsible minority that was causing the problem and urged all dog owners to use a bag or scoop to take home their dog's mess.

He added:
"Dog wardens are aware of the problem and have the power to levy fines for dog fouling. This is particularly the case on marked-out pitches."


NOTES FOR EDITORS

1. Toxocara canis is a roundworm found in dogs. Roundworm eggs are found in dog mess, which can easily be picked up by young children. This causes stomach upsets, sore throats, asthma and in rare cases blindness. The eggs can remain active in the soil for many years, long after the dog mess has weathered away.

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