Council agrees to alter “contradictory” dog ban signs at sports grounds

Tom Adkins and Charlie the labrador celebrate the Town Council's decision.

Town Councillors have voted unanimously to replace “No Dogs Allowed” signs at sports grounds in Bradley Stoke after residents claimed the wording was contradictory to the Council’s longstanding official policy of allowing responsible owners to exercise their pets at the sites.

New signs reading “Responsible Dog Owners Welcomed” will now be installed in their place.

The matter came to the fore last month after regular dog walkers, including a Town Councillor, noticed that a new “No Dogs Allowed” sign had been erected on the gate into the car park of the Baileys Court Activity Centre.

The Town Council insisted its policy was “not to ban dogs” but said the sign acted as “back up” for staff when dealing with irresponsible dog owners who did not pick up after their pets.

A petition against the sign was raised (attracting 51 signatures) and dog walker Cllr Roger Avenin tabled the matter at last month’s meeting of the Council’s Planning Committee.

Old "no dogs allowed" sign.

At the meeting, Cllr Rob Jones reiterated that the Council didn’t have a “no dogs” policy and said that although the sign was new, the wording on it was no different from that on a previous sign, which had been in position for the past 14 years. To prove the point, the previous sign (photo, right) was exhibited to the meeting by the Council’s Facilities Manager John Rendell.

The sign had been replaced because the Town Council’s telephone number, displayed on the sign, has changed as a result of the recent move into new offices at the Jubilee Centre.

Around a dozen dog walkers attended the meeting and they were given a chance to  have their say before the formal proceedings got underway. Several questioned why the sign was necessary if the Council’s policy is to allow dogs. In any case, “irresponsible” owners wouldn’t take any notice of it, one added.

One resident said littering of the site by teenagers was more of a problem than dog fouling and asked why the Council hadn’t put up a sign forbidding that.

Another pointed to the presence of a similar “No Unauthorised Ball Games” sign at Baileys Court and asked if that meant that young people and families were forbidden from taking part in informal games. Mr Rendell explained that the sign was intended to counter unauthorised football matches and training sessions that have been known to take place after pitches have been declared unfit for use, leading to them becoming “wrecked”.

Introducing the matter for formal debate, Cllr Avenin described the “No Dogs Allowed” sign currently in place at Baileys Court Activity Centre as “contradictory”. Rather than banning dogs, more effort should be made to educate the irresponsible dog owners to pick up after their pet, he added.

Following discussion, Councillors voted unanimously that the wording on the sign be changed to “Responsible Dog Owners Welcomed”.

Concerns expressed by residents about how some members of the public walking dogs have been spoken to by cricketers are to be raised with Bradley Stoke Cricket Club by Cllr Paul Hardwick.

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Avenin said:

“I am sure that all dog walkers are pleased to note that the Council will now adopt new signage which will be consistent with the [other] signs currently displayed at this field and with the dog bins provided.”

“The field is popular with many dog owners the vast majority of whom are wholly responsible and who strive to maintain this resource in as pristine condition as possible.”

“This decision surely represents a win for common sense.”

Fellow Baileys Court dog walker Tom Adkins, who had originally alerted The Journal to the issue, added:

“This is really great news and, as Roger said, common sense has prevailed. Resources are at a premium in Bradley Stoke South and so we all must respect and work with each other and with a limited open space as this field is, we must share.”

Dog walkers Kevin Wedlock (with Rossi) and Tom Adkins (with Charlie)

Photo 1: Dog walker Tom Adkins (with Charlie) pictured by the “contradictory” sign that is to be reworded.

Photo 2: Dog walkers Kevin Wedlock (with Rossi) and Tom Adkins (with Charlie) welcome the Council’s decision.

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  1. Common Sense has NOT prevailed. The wording of the sign has been there for 14 years while dogs have still been allowed AND the council has published a statement saying responsible dog owners are welcome AND there are dog litter bins in place to back this up.
    But that wasn’t enough for some. Those who’ve set out on this crusade to get the sign removed despite all of the above evidence showing that they were still welcome on the fields, have completely missed the point of the sign.

    The point is, if you are a responsible dog owner, ie pick up its mess, then you WILL be allowed on the site as evidenced by the previous 14 years the ‘NO DOGS’ sign has been in place. But a no dogs sign needs to be there so that there is a basis for action to be taken by council staff against the irresponsible dog owners.

    The spokespeople say how we need to educate those who don’t pick up after their dogs. You’ve just campaigned to get rid of the only sign backing up staff trying to enforce this.

    Now the problem of dogs mess being left will get worse, leading to more ill feeling between dog walkers and those using the field for anything other than dog walking. I’m afraid that sending (and paying for) yourself or your children to play football or cricket at a SPORTS field, then finding them covered in dogs doodoos can get you a little wound up.

  2. Quite honestly I found it astounding that dogs should be allowed to defacate on any sports pitch……it’s wrong wrong wrong!

  3. It is such a pity some people feel so rough towards us dogs and want to keep the little bit of grass we can run around on to themselves. My owner can not walk far so can’t take me to the woods.
    In the last article uncle roger pointed out how Bradley Stoke were required to provide dog exercise areas in the south on this field which they have not.
    Not wanting to sound barking mad, lets get rid of the sports field as there are plenty of football pitches about and have a communal area for me and my mates – woof woof!

  4. I am pleased that responsible owners will be allowed to take dogs onto the green space. It’s far from ideal to let dogs run on sports fields. However, until such time as we get a purpose-made dog park in the community, so that the sports field can operate as dog-free without selfishness, I can see that the rocky marriage will have to continue.

  5. Now that the problem with the signage for the sports field has been changed I think it is vital to make sure the signage on the Jordan Walk playground (next to the sports field) has signs on *both* gates. Dogs really aren’t allowed in children’s play areas.

  6. Nothing wrong with dogs running around on the sports field as long as they don’t poop there!
    Please dog owners, let your dogs poop in your own gardens (they can be trained to do this) before you take them for a run, a “responsible” dog owner would do this!

  7. What a waste of money. Can’t the council spend money on something better than replacing signs?….. 51 people signed the petition is that all…. So if I get 51 people to sign a petition will they get rid of the speed bumps around town… No they will not!

  8. How about, instead of calling meetings and changing signs, the Town Council uses the money and time to appoint some dog wardens to catch the offenders?

    Personally I think if these dog-walkers are so “responsible” they wouldn’t even allow their dog on a playing field. I regularly walk acroos this field and I have seen the evidence! Even poo belonging to a responsible dog owner leaves a mark. It’s disgusting that the council allows it.

  9. Dear Sir/Madam,

    I write in my capacity as club child welfare officer and in relation to the problem of animal faeces on the pitch used by Bradley Stoke Cricket Club.

    This pitch is used extensively throughout the spring and summer for matches organised during the midweek evenings and on Saturday and Sunday. In addition to this, the pitch area is also used for training purposes for all the teams within the cricket club and this includes the youth sections with children aged as young as 5 or 6 up to 17 years old.

    As you’ll appreciate the issue of responsible dog owners cleaning up after their pets is an emotive subject. No-one wants to consider playing or training somewhere where they may step in, fall on or touch anything like this and it has been my experience that the cricketers at this club have had to clean up dog faeces many times before a match or training to ensure this. I would say, even though this mess can be picked up, this does not guarantee a clean surface underneath and as such does pose a health risk.
    The possible health risk to humans is explained below and can be found on the website
    The main danger to human health in dog faeces is the presence of the eggs of Toxocara Canis. This is a roundworm that lives harmlessly in dogs but presents severe danger to humans. A dog can pass 15,000 eggs in just 1gram of faeces and can live in the soil long after the faeces have disappeared, even up to 3 years.

    As a club we would like to be welcoming to all and would extend this to all responsible dog owners who do take the time and trouble to clear up after their pet. However there is clearly a section of dog owners that do not do this and I believe this is unnecessarily impacting upon the club and youth members particularly.

    I understand that at a recent planning and environment committee meeting held by the council, there were several issues raised by members of the public in relation to signs banning dogs and the ‘aggressive’ way some cricketers requested dog walkers to move away from sight screens or remove their dogs from the field.

    Whilst I cannot condone this in any form, I would say we have had situations previously where owners have allowed their pets to foul the field whilst a game is actually taking place which I’m sure you’ll agree is totally unacceptable.

    Our AGM is planned to take place on Thursday 29th November and the subject of attitude towards dog walkers will be mentioned here. We will also send a note to all players prior to the start of next season reminding all members of our expectations of behaviour in relation to this.

    I would ask the committee to review the field use in relation to dog walkers and look to provide positive direction and enforcement to dogs fouling this area.

    Greg Wentland
    Child Welfare Officer
    Bradley Stoke Cricket Club

  10. Half the problem is dog owners sending their kids out to walk the family dog. What then happens is the dog does what ever it wants while the grumpy teenager reads text messages on their phone.

    At the very least the council needs to heavily fine anyone caught not clearing up after their dog.

  11. My understanding previously was that responsible dog owners were allowed on the fields, just not with their dogs.
    Or have a misread this whole thing?

    Do we need signs to also allow/deny responsible dogs?

  12. Can I just point out that responsible dog owners (myself included) not only clear up after their pets but also regularly worm them, no eggs in my doggies doo doo. Dog fouling is anti social behavior, as such the council probably have a budget to tackle ASB; install temporary CCTV and publish photos of the irresponsible so and so’s who actually cause this problem. I for one would have no issue shopping such a disgusting individual. Now don’t get me started on cat poo!

  13. So the council reacts to a petition consisting of 51 signatures? I wonder how many signatures could be obtained on a similar petition AGAINST dogs being allowed on the playing field? I wonder if the council would backtract quite so quickly … or does the council consist of a majority of dog-walking councillors?

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