DOGS should be banned from Huddersfield playing fields.
That was the call last night from Clr Christine Stanfield, who demanded the drastic move to protect footballers and rugby players from dog dirt.
The Lindley Lib Dem wants dogs banned from all playing fields, cemeteries and allotments in Kirklees.
Now she is asking Kirklees Council to consider a ban and follow the example set by Calderdale Council, which has started public consultation on such a restriction.
“There are a lot of responsible dog-owners who pick up after their pets,” she said.
“But there are also a huge number of people who aren’t bothered and think it’s the council’s job.
“If we can’t get people to take personal responsibility then it’s time to act.”
Kirklees Council has received 825 complaints about dog fouling since January.
Clr Stanfield said the problem was particularly bad on Salendine Nook High School’s playing fields.
“Over a thousand children play on these fields every week and dog fouling is a real health hazard,” she said.
“The place is running with dogs because there’s no boundary fence.
“Five years ago the council paid for some lovely signs saying ‘no dogs’. They were torn down almost immediately.”
Clr Stanfield would also like dogs banned from cemeteries and allotments.
“You don’t want dogs ruining your veg,” she said.
But Clr Stanfield does not think dogs should be kept out of public parks.
She said: “People traditionally bring their dogs to the park and they are not the kind of place where you roll around on the grass.
“But when you’re playing rugby or football, you’re playing the game, not looking at the ground. That’s why I’ve made the distinction.”
Clr Stanfield, who owned a series of Pyrenean mountain dogs between 1965 and 2001, said she was not anti-canine.
“I adore dogs,” she said. “I’m pro-dog, I’m just not pro-people who let them foul in public places.”
Huddersfield and District Football Association president Frank Beaumont backed Clr Stanfield’s demand last night.
“I’m right behind this. I welcome anything that helps keep football pitches clean,” he said.
Mr Beaumont added that some playing fields in Huddersfield were used by dog-owners.
“It’s a problem on some pitches where people like to walk their dogs,” he said.
“The referee may well inspect a pitch before the game and say that something needs to be removed.
“I’ve been to games where people have mentioned the problem.”
Calderdale Council has already launched a public consultation on a plan to ban dogs from sports pitches, children’s play areas and cemeteries.