The Central Okanagan Regional District is using humour to get more more area dog owners to scoop the poop their pets leave behind.
New signs are going up along along the popular Mission Creek Greenway recreational trail, and will find their way into many regional parks over the coming weeks, using light-hearted messages to encourage owners to not only keep pick up after their pets but also to keep their pets on a leash.
Some of the signs say, ‘If your dog poops and you don’t scoop…but nobody sees you…does that mean it won’t stick to the bottom of my shoe?,” while another address both humans and canines together: ‘Attention Dog guardians please pick up after your dogs. Attention dogs, Grrr, bark, woof. Good dog. Thank you!.”
Yet another says: “Make sure your dog doesn’t leave anything behind! Catch our drift?
CORD communications officer Bruce Smith said while picking up after your dog and keeping the animal on a leash are required by the regional responsible dog ownership bylaw, CORD believes a light-hearted, message will have more impact, resulting in more dog owners controlling their pets in public places.
“We all know that dog poop is a nuisance that can be easily avoided simply by carrying a bag and using it to pick up after your pet, then disposing of it in proper manner,” said Smith. “Having a dog on a leash of two meters or less is a bylaw requirement as it provides a handler with greater control over their animal and less opportunity for conflict with other residents.”
Smith added dog owners who fail to clean up after their pets don’t do any favours for those who do and can give all dog owners a bad name.
“Dog poo left behind in parks, on boulevards and sidewalks and on other people’s property is one of the most common complaints we and our municipal partners hear about,” he said. “Running a close second is owners who don’t have control over their dogs.”
This summer, the regional district will also introduce its Dog Ambassadors and volunteer Parks VIP Patrollers.
“Our goal with these programs is to provide an opportunity for further awareness and information to dog owners and park users and for positive interaction and encouragement of responsible behaviours.”
He added that CORD wants to acknowledge dog owners who have made responsible choices while giving those that haven’t a chance to understand what’s expected of them so that they will comply with responsible dog ownership bylaw and avoid financial enforcement consequences.
The regional district has provided information about dog licensing and the bylaw on its website at regionaldistrict.com/dogs. It also includes information about what to do if you and what to do if you lose, or find, a dog.
Under the bylaw, dog owners who fail to have their pet on a leash anywhere other than a designated off-leash area and who do not pick up after their pet could face a fine. As well, there is now a “zero tolerance” level for unlicensed dogs and finding one could result in a $300 fine for the owner.
Dog licenses are available at all local government offices, the regional dog pound (890 Weddell Place) and from the Kelowna SPCA branch.