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A North East councilor has urged Aberdeenshire Council to consider banning dogs on school grounds and play parks to protect them from pollution.
East Garioch Councilor Martin Ford raised the issue at a General Council meeting last week during a debate on the Live Life Aberdeenshire Pitch and Outdoor Physical Activity Space Strategy.
The strategy was designed to improve access to play parks and open spaces across the region.
It revealed dog feces had been raised as an “ongoing problem” and officials would consider banning dogs from school spaces.
At the meeting, Councilman Ford said: “I am amazed that we as a society and as a council can continue to tolerate people allowing their dogs to hunt areas for people and children to play on.
“It’s a disgusting and anti-social thing that has to do with clear health issues and it needs to be stopped.”
Councilor Ford said he did not believe current measures would stop the problem and that tougher action needed to be taken.
Although he was aware there would be issues with the feasibility and enforcement of a ban, he said it might be easier to introduce it in some places that are currently fenced off.
He asked officials for a commitment that a report would be produced with suggestions so council members could have a discussion on the issue and try to address the issue.
The responding Infrastructure Services Director, Alan Wood, said the issue was being further investigated and could result in a report which would return for further debate.
He said: “It’s an important issue.
“Enforcement is an issue and will be examined.”
The same proposal was originally put forward by Ellon and District Councilor Isobel Davidson in 2018 and was even considered by the local authority in 2014.
At Thursday’s meeting, she said she was “very grateful” to Councilor Ford for raising the matter again, adding: “We need more safe places for people to walk without dogs in the area.”
Councilwoman Davidson said she looks forward to seeing a report on dog bans in due course.
Scotland’s SPCA Chief Superintendent Mike Flynn said the animal rights group would support a decision to prevent dogs from being trained on school grounds or play parks for health reasons.
He said: “We understand that the majority of the public are responsible dog owners and clean up after their pets.
“However, there is a health and safety risk associated with dog waste and young children.
“Dog poop can contain dangerous toxins that can cause infections if children come in contact with it.
“The proposal will encourage people to move their dogs outside of these areas and help minimize the risk of infection.”