An eight-year-old boy fell face first in dog mess while playing rugby on a pitch where the animals are banned.
Now his father, Ben Harding, is urging dog owners to stay away from prohibited areas amid fears a child could be seriously harmed by the faeces.
The concerned dad from Blackwood noticed the faeces smeared on the face of his son, Jake, after he had been warming up ready to play an under 9s rugby game at Newbridge RFC on Sunday.
The feaces narrowly avoided the boy’s eye, in what his father Ben has described as a “close call.”
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Mr Harding, who also coaches at the club, said: “We’d set up on the football pitch. We’d marked a playing area up with cones which is firstly always inspected by coaches and the referee prior to playing.
“Some of the players were warming up on the side of the pitch where there parents stand. I noticed my son had what I initially thought was mud on the side of his face. However it wasn’t the right color to be the mud from the pitch, and obviously smelling it we discovered it was dog poo.
“it didn’t go into his eye but it was on the side of his forehead and face. It was a close call, it could have been a lot worse.”
Being first-aid trained as well as a dog owner himself, the 36-year-old , said he was “appalled” to discover the mess on a pitch where the pets are banned.
“I was appalled having trained in first-aid and being a dog owner myself I know the importance of picking it up and keeping your dogs away from the field,” he said.
“Because of where it was on his face and the fact that the worst case scenario is you can lose your sight from it, it was very alarming.
“I think owners should abide by the fact it’s a no dog field and take their dogs to places they’re allowed and to pay attention to their animals to make sure their mess is being cleaned up after them.”
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Mr Harding said Jake hadn’t been aware of the faeces on his face at first, but was upset to discover how dangerous the situation could have been for him.
“It was quite windy yesterday so he didn’t really notice it, I was the one who noticed and reacted to it. When I explained to him how serious it can be he was quite upset and disgusted by it,” he said.
“The children go to rugby to enjoy it and have fun and this is the last thing they want. It could have been worse, he could have been pulled off or taken away from the match completely and taken to hospital due to someone being irresponsible and not cleaning up after their dog.”
Following the incident, Newbridge RFC issued a warning on its Facebook page deterring dog owners from taking their pets to the fields.
It said: “Fortunately this didn’t go in his eyes but as you can see it’s a very close escape and could of have been life changing for him and his family if it had.
“Newbridge Canal fields is a No Dog Zone as placed by the council.
“But still members of our community still walk their dogs there and allow them to [defecate] in the fields where the youngsters of our community play. This isn’t acceptable behavior and needs to stop I would urge anyone who witnesses people allowing their dogs to mess on the field with not a care in the world to clean it up to report the individual before I am writing an entirely different post where a child had lost their sight or worse.”
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