SPORTS matches are starting late in Carmarthernshire because irresponsible dog owners fail to clear up after their pets, a consultation has found.
A total of 35 individuals and organisations, including Llandybie RFC, responded to the council consultation about an extension to an order which makes dog fouling on publicly-accessible land an offence.
Everyone who responded supported the proposed three-year extension, which the council’s executive board has ruled will take effect from July 1 when the current order expires.
There were also calls for more dog patrols and even a dog ban on sports fields, as was proposed and then shelved by Cardiff Council.
One of the responses said: “Public playing areas need to have a restriction on dogs.
“Many local sports clubs have raised the point of having to delay games because of time taken to remove dog and other animal faeces off the grass.
“This is a major danger to health and needs to be addressed.”
The response which called for a blanket ban on sports pitches said: “Unfortunately nothing will happen until a fatality occurs.”
The report before the executive board said there have been 396 dog fouling complaints since the current order was introduced in 2016 and that 73 fixed penalty tickets have been issued and seven prosecutions – for non-payment of fines – carried out.
A small number of complaints were also received about dogs in children’s play areas, with enforcement action taken against one person.
The order will continue to have disability exemptions and exemptions for working dogs such as those used by police and the Armed Forces.
Speaking at the June 3 meeting councillor Peter Hughes Griffiths, who holds the culture, sport and tourism brief, said it was very important to solve the problem, especially for sports matches.
“We are trying to improve the situation,” he said.
Councillor Philip Hughes, executive board member for public protection, said council officers did check that dog owners were carrying dog mess bags while out on their patrols.
It was, he said, an effective approach, and added the officers would supply owners with spare bags.
Referring to dog fouling in general he said: “It affects children, everybody.”