Dog walkers stumped by Council’s new cricket field sign

Sign at Baileys Court Activity Centre: "Playing fields - no dogs allowed".

A local resident who exercises his dog on the cricket field at Baileys Court says the Town Council is putting out contradictory signals about whether dogs are allowed at the site.

The claim comes after a new ‘No Dogs’ sign was erected on the main gates into the site, despite Council staff having told people for years that “responsible” dog owners are welcome.

The confusion is compounded by the fact that there are still various signs asking owners to clear up after their dogs and numerous waste bins still in position around the playing field.

Tom Adkins, who regularly walks his Labrador at Baileys Court, told The Journal:

“I understand what the authority is trying to achieve but the signage is wrong. If responsible dog owners are welcome, this is what the sign should say – along with a warning that failure to comply will result in you being asked to leave. As it is, owners do not know where they stand and are open to abuse from persons who are anti-dog, like I gather some have received from cricket club members.”

“Having a banning sign and then providing dog waste facilities is simply contradictory and no help to anyone. If anything, responsible owners are now likely to avoid the field for fear of rule breaking, so all the Council will have achieved is to alienate the type of dog owners that they have said are welcome.”

According to Mr Adkins, Council workers at the site say they have received several complaints about the new signage from confused dog owners.

When The Journal asked for an official statement from Bradley Stoke Town Council, we were told that there has been a ‘No Dogs’ sign on the gate at Baileys Court for at least ten years. The former green signs have been replaced with new white ones that show the Council’s new telephone number, this having changed following the recent move to the Jubilee Centre. All other wording regarding dogs, ball games and hirer vehicles has not been changed, insists the Council.

The Council’s statement continues:

“Although the sign does read ‘No Dogs’, the Council policy is not to ban dogs, but the sign helps site staff when approaching irresponsible dog walkers who allow their dogs to foul the sports fields. Baileys Court in particular is a favourite site for local dog walkers and its great to see people using the fields during all weathers, however a small minority of irresponsible dog walkers frequent the site and the sign is used by site staff when confronting these individuals.”

“The football and cricket managers have long standing issues with dog mess on the pitches; site staff are forced to pick up dog mess regularly before matches are played.”

“The town council works closely with the South Gloucestershire Council dog warden and the “no dogs” policy has not been any different within the last ten years.”

“The Town Council office has not received any complaints from dog owners wishing to exercise their dogs at Baileys Court Activity Centre; however we have received several phone calls from dog walkers querying the erection of the new signs. When we passed on the information detailed above, the enquirer has accepted this.”

Mr Adkins says he and other dog walkers were not aware of a previous sign, adding that if it was was there, it was certainly “not prominent like the new one”.

He also claims it is likely that not all faeces found on the grass are from dogs:

“We have a lot of urban foxes around here who I know regularly foul the area!”

Mr Adkins told The Journal that he had been made aware of the new sign by a Town Councillor who is a regular dog walker at the site. Cllr Roger Avenin has told Mr Adkins that he plans to challenge the new signage at the next Town Council meeting and has been asking others to join him in support.

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  1. I’ve nothing against responsible dog owners but I don’t think dogs should be allowed on any sports or recreation field.

    “Scoping the poop” can never get rid of everything and I don’t want to find myself putting my hand/face (or whatever) into the residues when I’m playing sport or picnicking there.

    There are plenty of other places where dogs could be exercised without exposing the public to this unpleasantness.

    And before I’m labelled “anti-dog”, I’m also against sports players habitually spitting on the pitch – a disgusting habit.

  2. The meeting referred to above is in fact the next Planning Committee meeting on Wed 24th Oct at the Jubilee Centre, Savages Wood Rd at 7.30pm where dog owners or indeed anti dog people will be allowed to voice their concerns. That is providing of course that council staff have not banned them as well !!!

    Baileys Court field is owned by South Glos but is leased ( on a long lease ) by Bradley Stoke Town Council. When this field was first planned back in 1990 SG put in a provision for dogs. Sadly this was less than adequate but at least recognised the fact that dogs have been exercised on this field since before the dawn of BS.

    The field itself while home to cricket and football is more than just a sports field. At the side and rear are additional grassed areas presumably for other activities. I have seen improptu football games, barbeques, youths having picnics and all sorts of of activities in these areas.

    The ‘new’ sign I am told replaces a tired old sign in green on a white background. Absolutely no one I have spoken to was even aware of the old sign but this new sign erected is far more visual and more prominently displayed. However as you correctly state this is totally contradictory to other signs ( no more than 10 yards away) requesting dog owners not to let their dogs foul the field, which were erected with PLANNING COMMITTEE approval. Additionally if dogs are banned why are there numerous dog bins around the field ? Are we being made to look stupid?

    The council staff’s reply that responsible dog owners are welcome on the field cuts no ice with me. This may well be the thin end of the wedge with dog walkers now being subject to the questioning and even abuse ( as has already happened) by any ‘jobsworth’ .

    As council staff concede virtually all the dog owners that use this field clear up their dog poo. Probably about 98% of the hundreds that exercise their dogs here are responsible. It is only a very tiny minority that spoil it for the rest. Such anti social people are in any case beyond redemption and are quite happy to let their dogs foul anywhere, so would you rather they did this on the pavements?

    I use this field on a regular basis and see occasional vandalism, tons of litter especially in the summer months, broken glass, and I am told some drug taking is still happening. Not a single word about this, not one. But dogs – that’s another matter – an easy target. Perhaps council staff should be re-acquainted with the benefits that dogs bring to society – Police dogs, guard dogs, dogs for the blind, drug sniffer dogs, dogs that help in the home, companion dogs, etc. etc.etc.

    To penalise a large number of loving responsible dog owners for the transgressions of a very few is in my opinion quite wrong. so I am hoping that council staff have the sense to remove this offensive sign forthwith.

  3. I am not anti-dog, but agree with Fiona’s comment.
    Perhaps the council could fence off one of the additional grassed areas around the pitch for dogs to go in and do their business. This is common practice in Canada (and also in Centre parcs I believe)

  4. My owner and I were bowled over by this story. Hoping it’s not going to become another forum for our barking mad councillors to bitch about each other.

  5. I agree with Fiona, its a sports field and I wouldn’t personally take my dog there as I think its quite inconsiderate/lazy when the lakes/woods are not far from Baileys Court!

  6. I am a regular dog walker here. And quite frankly, This has made me more then angry. Firstly, I hear and understand peoples concerns, However, Things like spitting & “left-over” mess is clearly washed away with rain. And to be fair – England has plenty of that. Secondly, I never hear people moaning about the unruly teenagers who use the park / field to abuse other people’s enjoyment of the green, Damaging properties, and being insulting to other humans. I for one, think this is all just more money-making, rubbish. It would NEVER be enforced…

  7. Just a bunch of useless power crazed idiots on the council thinking they have the power to do this….. its about time a vote of confidence or should I say competence. if they have so little of importance to discuss I would suggest they give up and let someone else have a chance of screwing thing up.
    I would suggest that ALL of the council members are brought to task over their reprehensible behaviour recently, and save some taxpayers money by getting rid of the so called Mayor and at least half of the council then perhaps they could discuss something of importance or relevance….

  8. I agree AngryDogWalker I suppose they will waste more money trying to enforce the impossible…. like to see them try..

  9. You are wrong Angry Dog Walker, any leftover Toxocariasis eggs passed by dogs are not washed away by rain at all, they live for several weeks outside of their host just waiting for another victim to come along.

    This is why picking up your dog’s mess isn’t enough, dogs should have their own enclosed toilet area where nobody (with any sense) plays.

    Don’t start me on cats either!

  10. I am a dog owner and also the mother of a rugby playing son. In my opinion dogs should not be walked on sports areas. There are plenty of other places for them to be walked safely. My son has been playing rugby for 11 years now and he’s had his fair share of landing in dog mess left behind by irresponsible dog owners.

  11. Sports fields should be just that sports fields not dog toilets ,I think it is very wrong of people to let their dogs poo on these sort of areas .

  12. I used to run a football team at Baileys and every other Sunday i could guarantee that I would have to pick up dog mess on our pitch. I had to do a trawl of the pitch before the game, even took my own dog litter bags in the end. One dog even came on the pitch while a game was being played, took the ball and punctured it and all i got was a mouth full of abuse for complaining to the dog owner. Dog owners have got loads of places to walk their dogs and there are very limited places for kids sport in bradley stoke so i say ban dogs all together.

  13. We walk our little dog and play ball on the field. There is enough space for dogs to toilet around the edge of the field without going on the actual playing area. Why cant the space around the dog bin and on the banks and the wooded big be set aside as dog areas for that purpose and owners clean up afterwards. That would leave the playing field for sport etc. We have to take our dogs somewhere and dont always want to go all the way to the lake, especially at 5.45 on a dark wet morning and being a lone female.

  14. Some dog owners (not all) are so typical of society today. “I’ll do what I want and I don’t care how it affects anyone else”. No consideration!

  15. My child plays football on here and I’m regularly seeing managers of local football clubs having to pick up dog mess left behind before their matches can take place. This is a sports field and should not be used by dog owners.

    That said how can you police it? CCTV is too costly and I can’t see it changing. One thing for sure children playing on these fields shouldn’t have to dodge the mess that’s left behind. Those responsible owners who do pick up the mess I salute you.

  16. People who don’t clean up after their dogs should be banned from having more pets.

    Its no hardship to carry a few plastic bags with you when you take them out. I even take a torch to make sure I clear up properly in the dark.

  17. @ K, perhaps parents that have kids that drop litter everywhere should be banned from having more kids too!

    The answer is not to ban every responsible dog owner because of a minority of irresponsible owners. I don’t care if they ban dogs, i’ll still walk mine, and clear up any mess it makes. The council don’t have the resources to do anything about it, hence why they put up a pointless sign.

    I see by the sign at the Jubilee Centre that ‘Unauthorised Ball Games’ are banned too….LOL. What is an authorised ball game and a Unauthorised ball game FFS?

  18. We have only taken my dog there a few times. I always pick up after her.
    We walk her on the Three Brooks Nature Reserve in Bradley Stoke.
    Went down there last week someone had dropped a bag of KFC chicken. She managed to eat some before we could stop her. So we had a ill puppy and a £58.00 vet bill. So please let’s all think about everyone else and pick up after your dog and don’t drop your rubbish on the ground. There are also some lovely wildlife animals down there.

  19. Saw the comments being made by both sides and it reminded me of a scheme that was being discussed by SGC when I was on the council back in 2009.

    It’s call the Green Dog Walker scheme and is in opertation in 5 parishes across South Glos, so there is some evidence that it works.

    I’ll send the booklet on the scheme to Ed and if any BSTC cllr or anyone else would like to se it they can contact him.


  20. I am a responsible dog walker and I live very close to the said park. It’s quite simple, people need to pick up mess after there dogs it takes 30 seconds to take it to a bin. That would solve all of these ridiculous signage and banning issues.

    I think that a harsh stance has been taken in putting up “no dogs allowed” sign. It’s also completely contradictory to put up a sign and have several dog waste bins dotted around the park. I have also signed a petition against the sign which a local councillor has been circulating.

    They also only have a “no dogs” sign up at one of a possible 3 entrances, which is also ridiculous.

    I am likely to go to the meeting on the 24th October to listen to people vent their views and also to put mine across.

    Being realisitc if they do end up banning dog altogether how are they going to police it, 8ft fences all the way round the park or have a permanent “dog security guard” – I don’t think so.

    People will still walk their dogs on the park – fact.

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