IRRESPONSIBLE dog owners have led to a rugby match being abandoned after the pitch was littered with “bin bags” worth of dog mess.
Peebles 2nd XV were due to clash with Borders rivals Kelso last month but players feared they would be playing amidst animal filth.
The cancellation comes as Scottish Borders Council consider plans to axe their wardens service to save cash.
Peebles manager Alister Clyde said: “There were two of us with black bin bags trying to get rid of it all when the referee appeared but he said he had no choice but to call it off because of the amount of dog dirt.
“We all agreed he made the right decision – the guys did not want to play on it and I quite agree with them.
“It was in perfect condition apart from the dog mess which made the call even more frustrating.
“I cannot understand why someone would let their dog do that.”
The match was a home game at Pebbles’ ground Violet Bank.
Peebles Community Council chairman Alasdair Stewart said if the council go ahead with plans to axe environmental services then the situation could worsen.
He said: “This is a perennial issue at Violet Bank and the residents in the area who let their dogs foul obviously don’t care.
“The proposal to get rid of the community wardens is a concern – there is afear that it will result in a free rein for dog fouling.”
Scottish Borders Council’s warden team has 12 full-time posts but only eight are filled.
As part of its plans to save nearly £3.85million over the next year the eight wardens are lined up to be redeployed to different departments.
Hawick councillor David Paterson, executive member for environmental services, said: “The council has got to look at ways of saving money.
“Nobody wants to see cuts but you can only spend what you’ve got.
“If members of the public or community councillors can find other ways of making these savings then fine but it has been looked at over and over again.”
In November last year it was revealed Edinburgh Council backed a campaign to reward dog walkers who clean up after their pets are being rewarded with treats such as cream teas and store vouchers.
In July it also emerged many Scottish councils were imposing an average of less than one penalty notice for dog fouling a month.
Despite having a population of around 90,000, Stirling Council has fined just 13 dog owners in six years.
Other poorly-performing councils include Fife with just 12 fines in five years, Aberdeenshire with 11 fines over the same period and Clackmannanshire with nine.
The problem of dog fouling is so bad in Oban that postmen recently threatened to stop some deliveries after Argyll and Bute handed out just 128 fines in the past five years.
Edinburgh City Council confirmed they are supporting the voucher scheme but could not reveal the financial cost of their support.
A spokesman said: “Our environmental wardens are assisting with this project.”