Children from a Dunedin Ice Hockey camp play rugby on
Kettle Park on Wednesday. Rugby club officials are concerned owners are letting their dogs defecate on the rugby and football fields. Photo by Tim Miller
Rugby players are having to dodge more than just their
opponents when they use the sports grounds at Kettle Park.
Despite a Dunedin City Council bylaw banning dogs from marked
sports fields, dog waste regularly has to be removed before
players can take to the field.
Dog faeces can contain roundworm, and the parasite's eggs can
accumulate in soil where dogs are allowed to defecate. As it
is sticky, it can collect on the hands and under fingernails
and cause severe inflammation and damage to the organs.
Rugby and football are played on the grounds and the Dunedin
Rugby Football Club uses the fields for home games and
Dunedin Rugby Football Club junior president Damon Sutherland
said the situation had become so bad coaches and managers
were having to inspect fields before every practice and game.
As well as the danger dog waste posed for players' health,
dogs regularly ran on to the field and dog fights were a
common occurrence, Mr Sutherland said.
Trying to coach young children during a rugby practice while
dozens of dogs were running across the field was both
annoying and potentially dangerous, he said.
Mr Sutherland said on any night at least 30 dogs could be off
their leashes, running around the fields.
It seemed the council did not want to take any action, he
''What I want to know is why they have signs up around the
park if they are just going to let it continue?''
Council senior animal control officer Jim Pryde said it might
appear the council was not taking any action but in reality
Kettle Park was an area animal control officers visited
''There is really not much we can do, sadly, if we don't
actually see the issue ourselves ... we have to rely on
members of the public letting us know when a bylaw was
broken,'' Mr Pryde said.
It was a shame a small minority were giving a bad name to the
majority of dog owners, he said.
Dogs are allowed in Kettle Park as long as they are under
control and kept off the playing fields.
''At this time of year it can be hard to see the markings of
the fields but people walking their dogs at Kettle Park
should be aware there are playing fields still in use,'' he
- by Tim Miller