With spring in the air and the snow melting, the dog poop problem in Kitimat begins to show its face again.
Members of the community are furious with the lack of clean-up from animal owners and want them to take action for their animals’ defecations.
Dog poop bags are offered around every dog-friendly park in town, yet the issue still seems to be unresolved.
“It’s definitely important to pick up after your dog where people are walking,” said Tammy Barker, resident of Kitimat.
Though the District of Kitimat regularly engages in a clean-up activity around the community, dog owners are responsible for picking up after their pets.
“It is unfortunate that some dog owners are not acting as responsible owners,” said Lisa Regenwetter, District of Kitimat Bylaw Officer. “Kitimat has experienced ongoing concerns regarding people not picking up after their dogs. Failure to be a responsible dog owner jeopardizes the health, wellbeing, and enjoyment of our beautiful community. We implore all dog owners to please pick up your dog’s poop.”
With the Kitimat Community Humane Society under contract with Kitimat’s animal control services, they’re constantly trying to educate animal owners about the need to clean up after their pets; requesting they don’t own an animal if they’re not willing to pick up after them.
“There has been plenty of education materials put out to the public about picking up after their pets and sadly it comes down to laziness and disrespect for our beautiful community, residents and the many tourists that come here,” Said Maryann Ouellet, Manager of the Kitimat Humane Society. “Kids, yourself and other animals end up walking in it and packing it home. Dog poop can create a large number of issues, one that everyone should be thinking about when it comes to their pets and that is the transmission of diseases and viruses such as parvo which can be a killer in younger dogs.”
Ouellet went on to discuss the rise of bacteria in our water systems when un-scooped poop breaks down from heavy rainfall or spring runoff, which can be carried into rivers, lakes and other bodies of water.
“Dog waste is also high in nitrogen and phosphorus, which promotes weed and algae growth in lakes, ponds, and streams,” Ouellet said. “This limits the sunlight available to aquatic plants, which then reduces the oxygen in the water that is needed by fish and other organisms.”
According to Kitimat’s municipal code of animal control, unless the property is owned by the owner or person in charge of the animal, they must immediately remove any feces defecated by the animal from a commercial property or private property.
Subdivision five of the municipal code also states owners or the person in charge of any animal must remove any feces defecated by the animal from public areas. These areas include City Centre, Service Centre, Kildala Neighbourhood, Whitesail Neighbourhood, and Nechako Neighbourhood, and dispose of it in a sanitary manner.
Although feces removal is not required at Dyke Road, Forest Ave, Haul road in Service Centre, or Hirsch Creek Park, owners or the person in charge of any animal must clean up after their dog at the Kulda Dog Park on Kuldo Boulevard across from Driftwood Street.
The Kitimat Humane Society told the Northern Sentinel the district plans to launch a communication campaign that will remind dog owners of their responsibility to pick up after their own dog.
Not cleaning up after your animal can result in receiving a $50 to $100 bylaw infraction ticket.
“Many of our parks carry bag dispenser, but if don’t see a garbage receptacle nearby then pack it home and dispose of it appropriately. […] It’s honestly sad that people need to be reminded of their responsibilities as pet owners,” said Ouellet.