Methil dog owners urged to stay clear of sports area at Savoy Centre

Youngsters at the MUGA (multi use games area) at the Savoy Centre in Methil. They have appealed to dog owners not to use the space.
Youngsters at the MUGA (multi use games area) at the Savoy Centre in Methil. They have appealed to dog owners not to use the space.

Staff and service users at the Savoy Centre in Methil have urged dog owners to stop using the multi use games area to exercise their pets.

The outdoor facility, which was replaced last year after consultation with local youngsters, is meant to be available to the whole community for activites such as football, basketball and hockey.

But since the facility re-opened to the public, staff at the centre have had to dissuade a number of dog owners from taking their animals into the caged-off area, apparently to let them run around, despite the MUGA being right next to a large grassy area.

Ian Cooper, community education worker, told the Mail that staff have challenged those using the areas, and have even tried to put notices up to explain that the facility is not for exercising dogs - but nothing seems to be working.

“Notices have been put up but someone has been taking them down,” he said. “Fife Council’s dog wardens have also put up notices, but they never last for long either.

“Those adults who exercise their dogs there are constantly challenged.

“But despite being told that the area is for physical activities, and primarily used by young people, they keep coming.”

He added: “Nobody used the space before it was improved last year, but now it’s well used by youngsters. It is really inconsiderate of these adults to bring their dogs here.

“It’s happening on just about a daily basis and it must damage the surface in some way.

“It’s the young people I feel sorry for because they’re the ones who worked so hard to get it improved.”

Work to improve the facility started in 2013 when youngsters put together a questionaire and online survey to campaign for a new MUGA, which was replaced in 2015 thanks to funding from the area committee. Graeme Anderson, Fife Council’s Technical Officer for Dogs and Pest Control said: “Signs in the area don’t seem to have deterred dog walkers from using the MUGA. It’s not a common problem across Fife’s MUGAs though so hopefully by stepping up dog warden patrols in the area we will now be able to successfully remind dog owners that this is a dedicated area for play and that it’s not a very appropriate place to exercise dogs. Our wardens work hard in local communities to encourage responsible dog ownership and have a good track record in reversing irresponsible behaviour when it’s identified as an ongoing issue.”