Snow is receding from walking trails around the valley and something old is emerging — old and potentially stinky.
Dog poop is being revealed as the snow recedes, reminding everyone of that age old wisdom the Central Okanagan Regional District has posted on signs — if your dog poops but nobody is watching, you still need to pick it up. Even if it’s snowy.
They go all out to help people keep up with their pet waste spending around $7,000 a year to supply parks with 233,000 bags, said Bruce Smith, the district’s Communications and Intergovernmental Affairs Officer.
That’s about three cents a bag.
“We rely on dog owners to be responsible and pick up after their pet and dispose of the waste in garbage containers either in the park they’re visiting or at home,” Smith said.
“As well, we often see other park visitors without dogs, using the convenience bags to pick up poop that hasn’t been collected or was missed in order to keep our parks and trails clean for everyone. People do use the bags as we find them in the garbage containers that are provided as a convenience as well.”
For those who don’t clean up after their pets, there are consequences.
The City of Kelowna has yet to return a call on how the issue takes shape in their parks, but Mary Bermudez is very familiar with the subject.
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Bermudez owns Poo Worx , 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-litre 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,” Bermudez said.
Not only that, she says 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, ” she said.
_WITH FILES FROM THE SALMON ARM OBSERVER