Call for dogs to be banned from local sports pitches

Peebles Rugby Club second team manager Alister Clyde at Violet Park in Peebles where a match failed to go ahead because of the amount of dogs dirt on the grass.

Peebles Rugby Club second team manager Alister Clyde at Violet Park in Peebles where a match failed to go ahead because of the amount of dogs dirt on the grass.

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A motion calling for a by-law banning dogs from all of the region’s sports pitches will be debated by the full Scottish Borders Council today.

The motion has been lodged by Kelso councillor Tom Weatherston (Con) who says local sporting groups have been complaining about the problem.

“Doing a bit of research, I discovered the problem is widespread across the region – last year one rugby game involving Peebles 2nds and Kelso 2nds had to be abandoned because the mess was so bad, and a recent football match involving Stow was not much better,” he said.

“I feel strongly we must try and do something to stamp out this problem. I think a total park ban is probably a step too far, but we must try and keep sport pitches clear as the health risks on these areas are much higher.”

Veteran Borders dog trainer Trudy Davison, however, believes the ban will fail to target the people who allow their pets to foul sports fields.

“Those people will simply turn a blind eye to any by-law and all that will happen is that responsible dog owners will be affected, including a lot of elderly people, whose dog is their only companion,” she said.

Mr Weatherston admits it is a complicated situation given some sports pitches are contained within public parks.

“But,” he added, “something has to be done. Dogs can get diarrhoea just like people and it’s not always possible to clean it up completely.”