Dog mess might have been cut by 88 per cent in Roberts Park, Saltaire, but its cricket pitch is used as a canine toilet, according to the club’s groundsman.
Billy Ricketts has tended the turf at Saltaire Cricket Club for 28 years and said while he agreed with Shipley Councillor Kevin Warnes that dog control orders had slashed the problem in public areas – the reverse was true on the picturesque pitch.
“I won’t argue with the 88 per cent cut elsewhere, but the cricket ground remains a target for dog muck,” said Mr Ricketts, who has taken hundreds of photos of free-roaming dogs and the piles of muck they leave behind..
“People need to realise that this is a World Heritage Site and not a dog exercise yard.
“On Council advice I’ve been keeping a detailed diary of whenever I see dogs being walked off leads and where they do their business.
“Every morning I have to clean up mounds of the stuff because one of the main problems is people coming home from work, taking their dogs to the park in the dark and just letting them go everywhere off the lead.
“I would say the majority of dog walkers are responsible and obey the rules and the Council has done a good job with its wardens in making the park itself cleaner, but there needs to be more enforcement. People doing wrong need to be challenged.”
Coun Kevin Warnes (Green) led a campaign to get dogs on leads after his daughter Grace, then aged seven, was menaced by an uncontrolled dog in Roberts Park four years ago.
“I’ve got a lot of sympathy with what Mr Ricketts says and there does need to be more enforcement,” he said.
“This is a form of educational change – the message has to keep being reinforced that such behaviour by dog owners is not acceptable.”