I have had kids in youth soccer on the Sunshine Coast for eight years, and I am also a dog owner.
I have been conflicted on the issue of dogs on sports fields over the years. Spectators of youth and adult sports enjoy bringing the family dog to watch events at the local parks, but they tend to clean up. There has always been an issue with dog feces on the fields, but it has recently gotten to the point where action needs to be taken.
Our kids are literally rolling around in dog feces at soccer practices and games every day. Parents, coaches, managers, refs and umpires are stepping in and picking up other people's dog excrement.
On a recent Saturday when I arrived at our game at Kinnikinnick Park, there were two people on the upper field with eight dogs and several more on the lower field. When we practise at night, dog owners show up with flashlights and headlamps to walk their dogs in the trails and around the fields. Unfortunately, with the volume of dogs on our playing fields, even if 80 per cent of dog owners pick up, the 20 per cent that is left is an unacceptable, unhealthy amount of feces.
It's embarrassing to our community when teams visiting from the Lower Mainland arrive to see the condition of our fields. It's a health hazard to the athletes and officials coming in contact with it.
The fields are increasingly popular with dog owners. Unfortunately, they are not earning the right to use them by cleaning up. The only solution is to ban dogs on sports playing fields. I know this won't be popular, but it's necessary. And it's your own fault, dog owners. These fields are built and designed for humans to play sports, not for dogs to use as toilets.
Jennifer Towert, manager
U14 Boys Sunshine Coast Scorpions
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