Mike Holland: Dogs should be banned from all green spaces

You will be amazed at how many diseases are passed via dog excrement to humans
You will be amazed at how many diseases are passed via dog excrement to humans

We will all agree our city is a crowded place and green spaces we have are precious.

I think we will all agree our city is an extremely crowded place and that the few green spaces we have, particularly in the city centre, are precious and need to be protected.

I firmly believe, however, that we must change many of the outdated bylaws - including those relating to people keeping dogs.

It has long been my view that it is ridiculous in a city as crowded as ours to allow dogs to be kept or brought into the city proper. By city proper, I mean from Brighton Marina to King Alfred Leisure Centre, and as far north as the Old Shoreham Road.

We should, of course, deal with the matter humanely by licensing all existing pets owned by people actually living in the city, with no renewals once they pass away naturally. We should, however, ban them instantly from our precious city-centre green spaces - because, without a doubt, they pose a serious health hazard to young children.

I am not talking about dangerous breeds, but the excrement from all dogs. Indeed, a council spokesperson has gone on record and advised us as follows: "Dog-owners should keep their pets on leads and only use the appropriate beaches because not everyone likes dogs and children can be terrified of bigger dogs. But it's also a hygiene issue, because children can contract serious illnesses from dog mess."

Well, with serious health warnings like that being put out by the local authority, it must surely be time to act. It wouldn't be a bad thing for politicians hoping to get re elected to take up. There will be far more of us voters who think it is high time something was done than deem it acceptable for someone's darling pooch to empty its bowels in one of our city-centre open spaces.NoDogsSign

Please don't try and tell me either that you always manage to scrape up all Fido's poopy doop - or shit, as we see it - because it is simply not possible.

Even if you are convinced your particular darling pooch is so healthy you manage to scrape up the lot, we will never believe you carry round a urine bottle. Therefore, without doubt, our children and picnickers are, at best, rolling around on urine-covered grass and, at worst, in the remains of excrement. Is that really a good idea?

Nobody is suggesting dogs are not wonderful cuddly creatures that make wonderful pets. I had one myself for many years and was truly devastated when he passed away. But surely, with what we know now about public health issues, the time has come to have a serious rethink.

For those of you who think I am perhaps over-stating this problem, carry out a little research yourself and be amazed at just how many diseases are passed via dog excrement to humans. In no particular order, among others, are: heartworms, whipworms, hookworms, roundworms, tapeworms, parvo, corona, giardiasis, salmonellosis, cryptosporidiosis and campylobacteriosis.

Still not convinced? Look up some of these nasty things that can be passed from dog excrement to humans and then tell me you think it is a good idea to leave matters as they currently are.

With what we know now, I firmly believe we have a duty to act - if not for ourselves, then certainly for the children living and visiting our city.