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Dog ban from council owned ground in Aberdeenshire to be considered

By Kirstie Topp - Local Democracy Reporter

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A north-east councillor has called for Aberdeenshire Council to consider banning dogs from school grounds and play parks in a bid to keep them free from fouling.

East Garioch councillor Martin Ford raised the issue at a meeting of Full Council last week during a debate of the Live Life Aberdeenshire Pitch and Outdoor Physical Activity Space Strategy.

The strategy was developed to improve access to play parks and open spaces across the region.

It revealed that dog fouling had been raised as an “ongoing issue” and officers would consider banning canines from school pitches.

Speaking at the meeting councillor Ford said: “I am amazed that as a society and as a council that we can continue to tolerate people allowing their dogs to fowl areas that are there for people and children to play on.

“It’s a disgusting and anti-social thing to do with clear health issues and it has to be stopped.”

Councillor Ford said that he didn’t believe the measures currently in place would stop the problem and tougher action needed to be taken.

While he was aware there would be issues with feasibility and enforcement of a ban he said it could be easier to introduce it some places that are currently fenced.

He asked for a commitment from officers that a report will be brought forward with proposals so that councillors can have a discussion on the issue and attempt to tackle the problem.

Responding director of infrastructure services, Alan Wood, said that the issue would be looked at further and could result in a report that would return for futher debate.

He said: “It’s an important issue.

"Enforcement is an issue and is being looked at.”

The same proposal was originally raised by Ellon and District councillor Isobel Davidson back in 2018 and it had even been considered by the local authority in 2014.

At Thursday’s meeting she said that she was “very grateful” to councillor Ford for raising the matter again and added: “We do need more safe spaces where people can go with no dogs in the area”.

Councillor Davidson said that she looked forward to seeing a report regarding dog bans in due course.

Scottish SPCA chief superintendent, Mike Flynn, said the animal welfare charity would support a decision to prevent dogs from being exercised in school grounds or play parks on health grounds.

He said: “We understand that the majority of the public are responsible dog owners, and clean up after their pets.

"However, there is a health and safety risk associated with dog excrement and young children.

“Dog faeces can carry dangerous toxins which can cause infection if children come into contact with it.

“The proposal will motivate people to exercise their dogs away from these areas, and help minimise the risk of infection.”

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