Young footballers call on dog owners to clean up after pets

Dorset Echo: PICK UP: Steve Hopkinson with Harlequin and Weston Sports football teams, angry at amount of dog mess always on Weston Sports Field on Portland. Inset, David Golding PICK UP: Steve Hopkinson with Harlequin and Weston Sports football teams, angry at amount of dog mess always on Weston Sports Field on Portland. Inset, David Golding

YOUNG footballers on Portland are urging dog owners to clean up after their pets.

Calls are being made to keep Weston sports field a clean and safe environment for youngsters who play there every Saturday morning.

Volunteer sport coaches of Harlequin and Weston Sports said some pet owners made it difficult for their youth football teams to train and compete.

They are calling for additional signage, fines and more monitoring to prevent the problem.

Steve Hopkinson, club welfare officer, said: “We would really appreciate it if people would respect that the playing fields are on private land.

“We pay hundreds of pounds every year for ground rent, cutting of grass and marking of football pitches, plus other maintenance work.

“We do this so that young children and the youth of the community have a space for supervised sports and football.

“The club is a registered community amateur sports club run by volunteers, so people can appreciate a lot of time, money and effort goes into running a club like this.”

David Golding, from Harlequin and Weston Sports, complained to the Weymouth and Portland Borough Council dog warden about the mess.

He said: “Something needs to be done.

“The youngsters find it difficult to play and they all really want the dirty dog owners to clean up after their pets.

“I feel sorry for the dogs. It is not their fault.

“When the children are playing you can see the dog owners walking their dogs. They just leave the mess on the field.

“We have started cleaning it up but it is just not fair because the pet owners should do it.

“I’ve heard of horror stories about children getting ill from the dog mess.”

Graham Duggan, community protection manager at the borough council, said: “We take dog fouling complaints seriously and our dog warden patrols areas such as the Weston sports fields on a regular basis.

“The majority of dog owners in Weymouth and Portland are very responsible, but the warden can issue fixed penalty notices if they see owners not picking up after their dog. The public can help us by alerting us to any repeat offenders so we can investigate.”

The club opens every Saturday morning for children under 11, with three teams, of which two play in the Dorset league.

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