Playing field dog ban is a success

Football coach Eric Shaw stands at the gates of Westgate Wanderers playing field.

Football coach Eric Shaw stands at the gates of Westgate Wanderers playing field.

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A ban on dogs on a playing field regularly left covered in poo by irresponsible pet owners is proving successful just months after it was brought into force.

King George V playing field in Heysham was traditionally used by dog walkers, but also by Westgate Wanderers for football training and matches.

Eric Shaw, 18, who runs the Westgate Wanderers Saturday morning club for boys and girls from five to 11, said: “The first thing the managers have to do on a Saturday morning is clear the pitch of dog dirt.

“It has improved since the ban came in by 75%. The signs on the gate have helped, you walk in and you can’t miss them.”

Malcolm Shaw, vice chairman of Westgate Wanderers, who lease King George V playing field from Lancaster City Council, said: “When young players were falling in dog dirt, we complained to our landlord, Lancaster City Council.

“We are not against the public using the field however, some regulars just flout the ban, they are not interested.

“They will get caught sooner or later.”

Dog walker Carol Meader said: “Local residents like myself depend on the fields to exercise our dogs and Lancaster City Council have taken it upon themselves to give away land that was never their’s to give away in the first place.”

King George V playing field automatically qualifies as a designated Dog Ban Area under the council’s Dog Control Orders.

Signs have been put up on the site informing local residents that it will be an offence for dog walkers to allow their dogs on the land.

This also includes the rugby pitches used by Heysham High School.

Breaching the dog ban may result in the issuing of a Fixed Penalty Notice for £80 (£50 if paid within seven days) or prosecution (maximum fine £1000).