Dogs are pooping freely in several Salmon Arm parks, with some owners leaving it at that.
“I get complaints, and the number of complaints have gone way up on the wharf, Little Mountain, Blackburn and Klahani – way up from last year,” says Jason Chernoff, Salmon Arm’s supervisor of parks, referring to dog feces on the ground.
The dog park in Klahani is better than it was, but the problems there are beyond its fences, on the ball diamonds and elsewhere, he says.
Even when the doggy bags the city provides at the entrance to parks are used, sometimes the full bags are chucked into the forest, left on the trails and, strangely, even tied up in trees.
To reinforce the need for pet owners to clean up after their dogs, the city has increased its fees to match those of the Columbia Shuswap Regional District. The fine for ‘failure to remove excrement’ has jumped from $25 to $100.
While dog poop can be stinky and yucky to step in, it’s also a potential hazard to health and the environment, says Mary Bermudez, someone who is very familiar with the subject.
Bermudez owns Poo Worx in Kelowna, which provides clean-up services to the City of Kelowna and outlying communities, including to individual dog owners.
As a former project manager in land development in Saskatchewan, Bermudez returned to Kelowna and decided to move in a new direction – becoming an “entrepooneur,” she jokes.
As a dog lover she was concerned about the diseases that dog feces can spread to dogs as well as humans. The Canadian Public Health Association lists nine human diseases that can be transmitted by dog poop, including E. Coli and Giardia.
Before the snow arrived last year, Poo Worx went to the parks generating the most complaints for the City of Kelowna. At Paul’s Tomb Trail in Knox Mountain Park, for instance, three of her scoopers and a vehicle picked up seven or eight five-liter buckets of dog waste.
Bermudez would like to launch an educational campaign reminding people that dog poop can be toxic. “That feces you leave might make another dog sick.”
Not only that, it can harm the environment. It can ultimately end up in streams and ponds and, once there, can help create algae because of its thirst for oxygen.
“That’s what really, really was the driver for me. If people knew the damage dog waste does, they’d think twice about just leaving it there.”