Dog walkers warned to pick up after their pets as 'patience runs out' at Newport Rugby Club
Players at Newport Rugby Club say they are facing a massive health risk because of dog owners who refuse to pick up after their animals.
The club has had to delay games while volunteers check the pitch for dog mess, and said it would no longer allow its facilities to be used as a toilet for animals.
It comes after a player at the club was sent to hospital for six days and needed emergency surgery to save his foot after a small cut became infected because of contact with dog mess.
Steve Murphy, president of the club, said: "Newport Rugby Club pride themselves on providing superb facilities, not only for the playing of rugby but also for other sporting and entertainment events for the wider community. The rugby is enjoyed by over 300 local children and nearly 100 adult playing members as well as 200 social members and with the disappearance of many of the green spaces within Newport, as more houses are built, we have seen an increase in the number of daily visitors to our site.
"As many of these visitors are dog walkers we have placed maps of the rights of way at each entrance and signs asking for dogs to be kept on a lead.
"The vast majority of dog owners take their responsibilities seriously, unfortunately a stubborn minority allow their dogs to roam over the private sporting facilities, without a lead, and defecate on grounds used by children from the age of five and grownups alike. Many of these people then subject us to abuse if we point out the errors of their ways.
"We are faced with a huge health and safety risk and have a duty of care not only to our members but also to visiting players. We are all volunteers and our time is better spent on encouraging sport than having to inspect the pitches and pick up dog dirt because the owners can’t be bothered to do so. This has resulted in us having to delay matches."
Dog mess can lead to toxocariasis caused by roundworm parasites and young children are at the greatest risk.
Mr Murphy said: "Dog owners should be aware of these problems and make sure they clean up after their animals – it is the least we can expect.
"Of course we want people to enjoy use of the public footpaths but we cannot continue to have our grounds used as a toilet for dogs. Our patience has run out and those wilfully ignoring the public notices and allowing their dogs to run wild fouling our sports fields will be reported."
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