One of the attractions of living at Umsinga, in Cardigan, is that we overlook Victoria Gardens. A long triangle of trees, lawn, shrubs and borders, it is everything you would expect of a Victorian town garden. Since 1897 it has offered Aberteifi residents and visitors a scaled down version of a big city park. No tennis courts, fountains or lidos to be sure but it does have a (mostly silent) bandstand, winding paths, de rigeur iron railings and a kissing gate. I notice today in the Cardigan and Tivyside Advertiser that the Gardens are in the news again. This time, rather than 'underage' drinking, or littering, it is the Dogs Running Wild Story/Call For A Ban story. Now, I'm no dog lover. I've never owned one and probably never will. I don't really like dogs. I am, like most people I suppose, disgusted by dog mess. I am often angry too that dog-owners or minders knowingly allow their dogs to foul public places and particularly those used by children. It's is unhygenic, uncivil and selfish. And though I have never seen dogs 'running wild' in the Gardens, this weekend while hunting for Easter Eggs with my daughter and her friends, it was all too evident that dogs were fouling the grounds. But would I support a ban on dogs therein? I don't think so. Yes the gardens could be sweeter smelling but I am sure the majority of dog walkers who I observe using the park daily are responsible citizens clearing up behind their charges. Not only that, they probably make up the majority of the people who use the park regularly. I don't believe a ban would be in the interests of the town. Dog mess will go elsewhere; playing fields, pavements and other marginal areas, already blighted, would no doubt be made worse. I suggest, before demands for a ban, understandable though they may be, gain credence, that other measures are tried; maybe increase the number of bins available for disposing of bagged dog mess, better signage, and perhaps a designated area. It would be shame to have dogs banned from the Gardens because often children like them and they can learn how to be around dogs. Dogs can be frightening to children yes but that applies to even the most placid and well controlled animal. The Gardens are important to the town so how about helping its citizens to use them more, and use them more responsibly?
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My Ceredigion and Cardigan Bay
Welcome to the blog of Paul Williams, Ceredigion resident since 1970. I am a graduate of what was once known as St David's University College, at Lampeter. I played bass in Dyfed's first punk band, The Repeaters. Then living in Llandewi Brefi, we had a grandstand view of Operation Julie. Eventually, after 2 years playing bass in Brighton's 256th punk band, I returned to Wales to deal in books and then antiques. I have trained and worked as a counsellor, I am a photographer, blog and web builder and I publish the annual Wales Antiques Guide. I am married and a father of one.