Stinking mess - workers clear 2,000 bags of dog poo from racecourse grounds

Staff at Wetherby Racecourse have issued a plea to dog owners to clear up after their pets as the course is being blighted by animal mess.

Friday, 11th August 2017, 10:45 am
Updated Monday, 11th September 2017, 12:59 pm
NAWN 1708082AM1 Wetherby racecourse dog mess. Maddy Clarke and Michelle Campbell of Wetherby of wetherby Racecourse.  (1708082AM1)
NAWN 1708082AM1 Wetherby racecourse dog mess. Maddy Clarke and Michelle Campbell of Wetherby of wetherby Racecourse. (1708082AM1)

A mound of more than 2,000 stinking full dog poo bags was left to staff to clear away from the racecourse.

The health hazard, on a wood burning pile, had been added to over a few weeks by irresponsible dog walkers.

Racecourse sales and marketing manager, Michelle Campbell said: “In April it was brought to our attention that dog walkers had been throwing their full dog poo bags onto an area used occasionally to burn birch from old hurdles and fences.

“This pile of bags became an unsightly and unhygienic mess in just a couple of months. I personally undertook to clear this up, with some help with another of our office staff and two kind and responsible dog walkers who answered an appeal for help.

“We collected over 2,000 dog poo bags.

“I have no idea how anyone, even if the area was used as a burning site, would dream that dumping this amount of poo bags is okay.”

Michelle added: “We subsequently put a lot of signage around the area and so dumping there has now almost stopped.

“Unfortunately a few irresponsible owners now throw it elsewhere or don’t even bother to pick it up at all.

“One of our groundstaff, who was cutting grass last week, came in to the office to ask us if there was anything we could do as he had been strimming and was covered.”

Michelle explained that the racecourse grounds, which are home to premier Yorkshire race meetings and often host the BBC Bargain Hunt teams, are private property.

But there are two pedestrian footpaths that cross the land and people also park their cars on the land while exercising their dogs while the main gates are open during office hours.

She said the management does not mind the public having access but called for respect of the grounds.

“There are no dog litter bins. If we put these out ourselves, we then need to dispose of the waste at our time and cost,” added Michelle.

“We do have some signage up but are also mindful of our core business and don’t want first impressions to Wetherby to be lots of dog poo signs and bins.

“I have a dog and I don’t need bins or signs to know that it is wrong not to pick up her waste.

“I believe the majority of dog owners are responsible, and unfortunately it is the few who ruin it for everyone else.”

She said staff have, for the past week, been leaving leaflets on cars parked on the property and will continue to do so this month.

“We estimate at least 60 dogs are being walked on our property on a daily basis and we just want people to understand that they need to clean up after their dogs.

“Basically it is educating people that the areas they utilise to walk their dogs is not a field, it is not rough ground, it is used by us for private events and for car parking.

“They don’t have vehicular rights of access, they bring cars in at our discretion.

“We don’t want to stop people using the grounds but would please ask them to follow a few basic rules.”

A Leeds City Council spokesman told the Wetherby News: “Failing to pick up after your dog in any public place is anti-social, unpleasant and a risk to health.

“Therefore, we would urge all dog walkers to be responsible pet owners wherever they walk their dogs.

“Although the racecourse is private land, we would be happy to discuss the issue with the owners to see what help and advice we can offer.”