Two Splott businessmen have come up with an unusual solution to the area’s problem with dog mess – a “dog land” in the middle of the city ward.
Paul Gwilym and Leon Tarr run The Wedding Fayre Shop on Splott Road, but say they are fed up with dog owners who fail to pick up their pet’s mess in the surrounding streets and parks.
They considered possible solutions such as campaigning for extra bins, but decided this would not be enough to tackle the problem. So they have come up with a plan for an enclosed dog exercise area, with the aim that dog mess would not be spread around Splott, but also hope their idea can bring the community together.
Paul explained how he and his business partner want to develop an all-weather “dog land”, with fenced off exercise areas and a dog obstacle course where pet owners could come to walk their four-legged friends.
Vistors would be given “doggie bags” when they arrive, so they have no excuse not to clean up their dog’s mess while they’re there, but also when they leave in an effort to change their behaviour when they walk their dog elsewhere.
But the business plan goes further, including proposals for a day kennels, a dog washing and grooming station, a coffee shop, pet supplies store, animal charity shop, and a pet memorial garden.
The pair even believe the park could offer work experience, volunteering opportunities for young people, and a facility for police dog training.
Paul said: “It could be a fantastic place to bring the community together, somewhere for pets to play, while also helping to tackle a big problem in Splott.”
Paul and Leon estimate that getting their idea off the ground would cost between £50,000 and £70,000, and are currently looking for partners for the project.
But they are keen to make it a reality through a social enterprise model, meaning any money made by the park – such as through an entry price, or takings from the coffee shop or day kennels – would be put back into creating more facilities for the community.
Leon said they believe they have identified three brownfield sites in Splott that could be potential spaces for development, but they are also looking at the possibility of adapting an empty retail unit.
Splott ward councillor Gavin Cox agreed the idea could be much more effective than simply supplying more dog waste bins.
Coun Cox said there were too few litter bins in Splott, and he has asked for a ward-wide survey to assess provision, but he was yet to meet a resident who would be willing to have a dog waste bin outside their home.
He said: “The vast majority of dog owners are responsible and clean up after their pets. It’s the irresponsible dog walkers who wouldn’t use litter bins if there was one on every lamp post in Cardiff who pose the problem.
“Rather than expect hard working families to pay extra council tax to clean up after irresponsible dog owners I’d prefer to see a scheme such as this, where dogs have their own exclusive exercise areas in parks. “
If you think you can offer help or support to Paul and Leon, contact Paul on 07787568421 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
What do you think about Paul and Leon’s idea? Is it a better solution than having more dog waste bins? Would you want a dog park like this near your home? Let us know in the comments below.