Dog walkers could be banned from parts of Ashfield sports grounds
Dog walkers could be banned from certain parts of Ashfield sports fields under plans to be pursued by Ashfield District Council.
The motion was put forward by Councillor Lee Anderson, Conservative member for Huthwaite and Brierley, who proposed that dog walkers should be segregated from areas of sports fields across the district to “reduce the amount of dog litter on sports pitches”.
He suggested that while most people are “responsible dog owners” there are a number of people who do not clean up after their animals, making it difficult for sports teams and players to play on the district’s fields.
He said: “Dogs and dog walkers are banned from golf courses, bowls greens and tennis courts so why should they not also be banned from football pitches too?
“I am not suggesting that every dog owner is irresponsible, but there are a small number of owners who do not pick up after their pets and end up leaving dog foul for the sports teams to manoeuvre around.
“I am also not suggesting that dog walkers should be banned completely from open parks and spaces, but I do believe we should have dog-only areas which are not near the football pitch at all.
“If players or children were to fall on the pitch and get dog litter on their hands there is potential for blinding, and this is not something I would want on my conscience.”
Councillor Anderson also called for the implementation of a public spaces protection order to enforce this motion, which was seconded by Coun Kevin Rostance.
Coun Rostance added: “It should not be the responsibility of football players, managers or referees to clean up dog foul before starting their matches.
“I wholeheartedly support this motion.”
There was fierce opposition to the plans by Labour members of the council, including former council leader Coun Cheryl Butler who suggested that it “limits” dog walking spaces across the district.
She said: “I myself am a responsible dog owner and I cannot see why this motion is necessary.
“It is not only limiting the amount of dog walking spaces across the district but it also is an inconvenience for the majority of dog walkers who clean up after their pets.
“Responsible dog owners will always clean up after their dogs and should not be penalised by this council restricting where they can and cannot walk their dogs.”
The motion went to a vote of the full council and was tied at 14 votes for yes and 14 votes for no.
Coun Glenys Maxwell, chairman of Ashfield District Council, used her deciding vote to pass it.
It will now go to the council’s cabinet committee next month to be deliberated further.