AN official of a junior football league is urging dog owners to exercise greater control of their pets when walking them on local playing fields.
Joe Nelson, chairman of Skelmersdale Junior Football League, says dogs have been digging large holes on the playing surfaces at White Moss Road making them “very dangerous.”
Thousands of youngsters in the town take part in JFL each week during the winter months playing regular fixtures.
And officials from the league say they have had to constantly go around filling in the holes left behind by pets.
Unfortunately some are not discovered and recently one child sprained an ankle because of damage to a pitch.
Now Joe Nelson fears other youngsters could suffer more serious injuries unless owners show more responsibility.
He said: “As chairman of the Skelmersdale Junior Football League, I am rather concerned for the safety of our children and indeed all the users of our facilities at White Moss Road playing fields.
“Some local children exercising their dog on the playing fields have been allowing it to dig large holes on and around the playing surfaces, making it very dangerous, should a young child’s leg happen to go down it.
“Prior to the start of last Sunday’s games during our routine inspection we had to fill in five such holes.
“But unfortunately we missed one and one young child injured himself.
“Fortunately this was not serious, but he did suffer some discomfort and next time someone might get off so lightly.
“We appreciate that these are public grounds and are ideal for exercising dogs on, but we urge all dog owners to take greater control over their animals and don’t allow them to cause unnecessary damage to the fields.
“It is sheer vandalism. I am told that a resident approached the youngsters, who were of a mixed aged group, but they just sniggered and ran off.
“We had to abandon some of the pitches, which caused the children to be down-heartened. Most of the residents walk their dogs around the fields, it is just the odd exception.
“Whoever is doing this should stop and leave us alone.
“I have spoken to the parents of the child who twisted his leg and they said he was shaken but OK.”
West Lancashire Borough Council has been contacted for comment.