Frustrated residents have been told that dogs cannot be banned from a kids swing park they say is covered in dog muck which threatens their children’s health.

Newton Residents Association invited an environmental officer to discuss issues in the area, with unkempt gardens and vermin high up the list of complaints.

And they had hoped to get the nod to put No Dogs Allowed signs up at the kids playpark off York Street in a bid to tackle dogs fouling the grass.

The £50,000 park was only opened in April.

But they were told that changes to the law now prevented them from introducing such bans. Instead, they could only put up ‘no dog fouling’ signs asking owners to control their pets and clear up after them.

One member of the residents group, Willie McCurdie, asked why council workers would not clear up the muck when they were cutting the grass.

He said: “There is a swing park out of my back door. The grass cutters come in and cut it once a month.

"It is covered in dog muck and what I am looking for is a notice to put up on the gate saying ‘no dogs allowed’.

Mr McCurdie was told that the council was not allowed to ban dogs from parks.

He replied: “It is a kids swing park. So you are going to tell me you can’t do it.

"So if those boys come down to cut the grass and there is dog muck then they are just going to walk away and leave it.

“If my weans come back trampling it into the house, that to me is a health and safety issue.”

The official said that was the legislation they were bound to, but did acknowledge the health and safety issues.

The group also said that the existing signage warning about dog fouling didn’t work and that dog owners were inclined not to pick up after their dog when it is dark.

A council spokesperson confirmed the situation: “The legislation and protocol around children’s play areas has changed, for safety of children, and for freedom of growth of experience and education of child purposes.

“Dogs are not prevented from entering or being taken into children’s play areas, however they must be kept under proper control when doing so.

“Fences are no longer erected around play areas, dog grids are being removed, some having sections of fencing removed, with some sections left for safety, i.e. where a child might run onto a road or into water, for example.”

It was also suggested that the problem of dog fouling, particularly at Newton Shore, was being exacerbated by professional dog walkers who could have a large number of dogs with them at one time.

One of the diseases that can be caused by contact with dog faeces is Toxocariasis.

It explains: “Animals with these worms in their digestive system can pass out worm eggs in their poo.

"You can become infected if poo, soil or sand containing these eggs gets in your mouth.”

Symptoms include a high temperature, coughing, stomach ache, rash, changes to sight and even loss of vision, usually in one eye.

Resident Helen Russell also took issue with the amount of dog muck left on the pavements for long periods and suggested there were very few occasions where the area was patrolled and the dog fouling rules enforced.

The environmental health official replied that there were a number of patrols, including several she had been involved directly.