Saturday, 19 August 2017

Dog walkers told to pick up after their pets in hall field

DOG owners have been told to keep their animals on the lead in an effort to stop a fouling problem in Shiplake.

The trustees of the Memorial Hall recreation ground, off Memorial Avenue, have received complaints about dog mess on the field, which is well used by residents, including children.

They did not want to ban dogs entirely and say the only practical solution is to have pets kept on leads.

Notices to this effect were displayed at the ground but were stolen soon afterwards.

They have now been replaced but at a cost to the charity which maintains the hall and ground.

Hugh Lacey, chairman of the hall trustees, said: “People tend to take their dogs out for walks in the morning, not keep them on leads and leave the deposits behind. We get members of the community saying, ‘something should be done about it’.

“The field is used for a lot of sports and by children and the primary school relies on it. This is not council property, it is owned by the hall trustees so we really have a duty to ensure it’s for the whole community.

“The feeling in our meetings was that the only way to make sure that the mess is kept off is to keep the dogs on leads otherwise the owners may not actually realise what the dogs are up to. We thought something specific would at least concentrate people’s minds.

“The problem is not confined to the memorial hall — we have had it at Binfield Heath recreation ground. Every recreation ground, I suspect, has a similar problem so one just does one’s best.”

Tudor Taylor, chairman of Shiplake Parish Council, said: “I know it personally to be a problem. I played football there recently and we had to move the goal a bit because there was dog poo in the goalmouth.

“If this measure is likely to improve the situation I don’t have any issue with it. The main thing is to ensure the field is kept clear. If this solves the problem then great.”

Residents are being asked to help the trustees by drawing the notices to the attention of the owners letting their dogs run free. Offenders can be reported by email to manager@shiplakehall.com

Meanwhile, a Shiplake woman has called for an area to be designated for professional dog walkers and the public to walk their animals.

Georgina Armstrong walks her four dogs in Shiplake woods but says the area is “overrun” with professionals.

She said: “Over the past few months I have had more and more people stopping me on my daily walk to ask me if I am a dog walker.

“When I reply ‘no’, they tell me about how the woods are getting overrun with commercial dog walkers, walking eight dogs and sometimes more, most off the blead and out of control.

“They don’t come back with poo bags so the dogs are all fouling around the woods.

“I am not saying this applies to all the dog walkers. As a former dog walker, I know that they cannot be insured for more than six dogs.” Miss Armstrong said the problem was not just happening in Shiplake but also in Mill Meadows, Henley, and elsewhere.

She continued: “With more and more people owning dogs, I think something has to be done. I feel that if no one speaks up about this problem, it is only going to get worse.

“For a long time now, I have been trying to find a piece of land that I can fence off so it’s a safe area where commercial dog walkers and the general public can safely and responsibly walk their dogs.”

If anyone can help, email Miss Armstrong at miss
georginaarmstrong@gmail.com

l What do you think? Write to: Letters, Henley Standard, Caxton House, 1 Station Road, Henley, RG9 1AD or email letters@henleystandard.co.uk

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