Sorting It Out

The nuisance caused by Dog Fouling is one of the main causes for concern residents raise with their local Councillor. This is why one of the first decisions the new Cabinet took following the local government elections in May was to introduce a Public Spaces Protection Order, to tackle this persistent issue in communities across RCT. As a dog owner myself I have always found it difficult to comprehend why anyone would not act responsibly and clean up when their dog fouls. Not only does it blight our streets and public spaces, it also poses a significant health risk.

The serious impact this issue can cause has led to Rhondda Cynon Taf resident Collin Smith supporting our Sort **IT Out! campaign to tackle irresponsible dog owners – 38 years after his leg was amputated due to an infection from dog mess on a rugby field.

Collin, originally from Tonyrefail and now living in Miskin, Pontyclun, was 15 years old in November 1979, when he played in a school rugby match in Rhondda. During the game, he suffered compound fractures to his leg, which became a life-changing injury due to an infection from dog mess on the pitch. The incident meant Collin, who was the captain of his youth side and capped by Wales at the under-15s age group, would never play rugby again.

Now aged 53, Collin is supporting Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Sort **IT Out! campaign, which is promoting the new dog fouling rules coming into force from October 1, 2017, through a Public Spaces Protection Order. During August and September, the Council is hosting awareness events across the County Borough, for members of the public to find out more about the new rules from October 1. The events seek to make it clear that from October, dog owners must carry suitable means to pick up dog mess, while dogs will be banned from ALL schools, play areas and marked sports pitches maintained by the Council. More enforcement officers will be out and about, and dog owners must put their dog on a lead if requested by officers. Irresponsible dog owners could face a £100 fine under the new rules.

Our Sort**IT Out! campaign seeks to deliver a hard hitting message that everyone of us who owns a dog, has a duty to act responsibly and that is why we have chosen not to mince our words in getting this message across.

As could be easily predicted, the commencement of the school holidays has coincided with the usual downturn in the weather. This has not however deterred residents from taking advantage of the huge range of activities taking place across Rhondda Cynon Taf during the school holidays. Many have taken the opportunity to enjoy a seaside experience at the Rhondda Heritage Park, courtesy of Porths’ very own urban beach and the Council’s largest park is gearing up for the Welsh Big Bite – a food and agricultural festival in Pontypridd this weekend, which always promises to offer a great day out come rain or shine and importantly offers a major boost to our local economy.

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