No-Go Fido! Dog owners face tough clampdown in ALL our parks and play areas

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Dogs will be banned from every public playground and sports field in Calderdale if the council goes ahead with new control orders.

Owners will be required to keep pets on a lead at all times in parks and gardens, on public footpaths, beside busy roads and in public car parks.

And they’ll have to clean up their mess virtually everywhere they go.

The measures are in response to growing complaints about dog fouling and irresponsible owners, which now number nearly 700 a year.

Five control orders are proposed that will enable 55 council officials to take enforcement action with fines of up to £80.

Calderdale Council Cabinet will be asked on Monday to begin public consultation on the proposals, which will also limit the activities of dog walkers in some areas.

Economy and environment spokesman Coun Barry Collins said: “The balance between public protection and legitimate enjoyment of parks and open spaces is always a delicate one and we are keen to hear people’s views on the proposals before making the new orders.”

The move has been welcomed by footballers who regularly have to cope with the problem of dog mess on Calderdale pitches, which they hire from the council for around £75 a time. David Rattigan, the fixtures secretary for Ziggys Spice House League, said: “We simply cannot start a game without clearing it up and I think the problem could be getting worse.

“I’m a dog lover - I have had a dog in the past - but I believe the council is right to clampdown on irresponsible owners,” he said.

Ian Pickard, who runs the Queens Head Football Club with his son, said he spent the best part of an hour clearing mess from a pitch at Savile Park on Sunday morning.

“And it’s usually the same wherever you go.

“We have had dogs in the past and we always cleared up after them but some people just don’t seem to care,” he said.

According to the council’s senior environmental health officer, Dave Dunbar, the majority of dog owner are caring and responsible, pick up after their dogs and keep them under control in public areas.

“But there are a number of cases where children and sports players have cone into contact with the Toxocara worm in dog excrement and unfortunately they have partly or completely lost their sight as a result,” he said in a report to the cabinet.

Mick Foster, a former council employee who regularly takes his dogs at Savile Park, said owners should clean-up after their pets and they should be under control at all times.

“But we need somewhere to exercise our pets and I can’t see how the council is going to enforce these new rules,” he said.

Another owner, Mary Heath, who lives close to the park, said she always cleaned up after her dog and the council was right to want to keep animals off the sports pitches.

Dogs are already banned from six children’s play areas and recreation grounds.

If the new control orders are introduced, they will be excluded from 120 sports pitches, more than 120 play areas, 30 public gardens, 19 bowling greens and 33 tennis courts.

Dogs will have to be on leads in all parks, public car parks, on public footpaths, the canal towpath, 36 council allotments, seven cemeteries and alongside roads with a speed limit of more than 40 mph.

Owners will be required to clean up after their dogs everywhere except moorland and woodland.

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