Barnstaple Rugby Club have been experiencing increasing issues with dogs being exercised within the open spaces under their control. The vast majority of dog owners act responsibly, keeping their dogs under control, and clear up their dog’s faeces. Unfortunately some don’t and this presents a significant risk to Barnstaple Rugby Club, and a challenge to our ‘duty of care’ to all users.
Dog faeces is a risk to public health. Dogs can deposit roundworm eggs known as Toxocara canis in their faeces. If swallowed, these tiny organisms are quickly transmitted between animals and people causing illness and disease that can travel throughout the body to the brain, lungs, kidneys, liver, heart and eyes. Roundworm larva can potentially cause stomach upsets, sore throats, asthma, and, in some rare cases blindness. These eggs can remain active on the ground for many years, even after the initial dog mess has worn away.
 
Other harmful diseases caused by dog fouling, include:

• Salmonella – The most common bacterial infection transmitted to humans from dog faeces. This can even be excreted in the faeces of healthy dogs.

• E Coli –This bacterium lives in the intestines of dogs. E Coli can also be life-threatening for people with compromised immune systems. Certain strains of E Coli can escape into the bloodstream.

• Yersiniosis – a bacterial illness that can lead to intestinal infection in people.

• Campylobacteriosis – This can be a life-threatening infection for people with compromised immune systems, as it spreads to the bloodstream.

The presence of dog faces, in particular where large amounts of deposits are evident, can adversely affect the mood, attitude and behaviour of those who frequent the locality.
 
Unchallenged and unchanged it can also have a significant negative impact on the social and economic standing, and there are specific concerns about the maintenance of open spaces which are blighted – e.g. routine grass cutting.
 

In order to address this problem, and safeguard players, spectators, visitors and staff, Barnstaple Rugby Club has been working with North Devon Council to formulate a solution with a Dog Public Space Protection Order. As a result the Club will be introducing restrictions that minimise the risks, whilst allowing users to attend with dogs properly under control. The attached plan shows two distinct areas, one where dogs are allowed on leads and the other where dogs are not permitted under any circumstances. These conditions will be enforced by North Devon Council Dog Wardens who will provide the necessary signage as a simple guide for all dog owners to be aware as they move from area to area.

 
The Rugby Club hope that everyone associated with it will be respectful and compliant, here and throughout North Devon, but where appropriate, offenders will be issued a Fixed Penalty Notice for £100 or face prosecution for any breach which could result in a maximum fine of £1000. These measures will be introduced on Monday 17th June 2024.
 
We are working hard to make this a safe, comfortable and pleasant space to enjoy your sport.
 
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