Dog owners in Prince Rupert are being reminded that dogs need to be on a leash and picked up after when on public property.
For the last couple of weeks, the bylaw office has been issuing warnings to dog owners, especially along the waterfront between Kwinitsa Station and Cow Bay.
Rusted bolts on the “leash and pick-up after your dog signs” at the top of George Hills Way and down at Rotary Park suggest they’ve been there for a while.
“We started getting lots of complaints about people not picking up after their dogs and about people letting their dogs run loose,” the mayor said Monday.
“People don’t know if they are going to get nipped. The warnings are a reminder to continual offenders who will let their dogs run along, even when people are walking with young children. But of greater concern is the fact that people need to pick up after their dogs.”
It’s a matter of reminding people to be more conscientious, he added.
“85 per cent are okay, ten percent need nudging, and five percent don’t’ care.”
On Monday afternoon, the sun was out, and many people were down at the waterfront walking their dogs. Some had their dogs on leashes, others didn’t.
A quick survey of dog owners suggested that most are conscientious and many would like to see a dog park.
Ann Whittles, who was walking her little dog, said a dog park in Rupert is something she’d love.
“Most of them are fenced, but you are supposed to pick up after your dog in there too,” Whittles said.
She’s talked with other dog owners and heard possible suggestions for a park in Prince Rupert are an old ball park that isn’t being used near the Civic Centre or the large open area behind the skate park.
“My daughter has two little dogs and lives up in Fort McMurray where they have a nice dog park. The dogs all get along fine, big dogs and little dogs, and they’ve never seen an issue,” Whittles said.
When it comes to using a leash, Whittles always uses one because she feels more comfortable.
“She doesn’t know traffic,” she said of her dog.
Walking with her two larger dogs, Lori Garland said she walks them along the waterfront every day and does pick up after them.
When she heads south from Kwinitsa Station along the gravel road, like many other dog owners, she lets the dogs off the leash.
“I wish there was more of a beach area to take them. It’s hard going over all these rocks. There’s only one little section and if it’s too crowded I can’t take the dogs down there if there are kids and other dogs,” Garland said.
She picks up after her dogs, and while she hasn’t seen other dogs not being picked up after, she has certainly seen messes.
For Dale Moore it’s a matter of knowing your dog. He was walking with a small one and a large one and the smaller one was on a leash.
“She tries to protect this one,” Moore said of the littler dog.
He comes down to the waterfront every day and has noticed that most people put their dogs on a leash to walk toward Cow Bay, but let the dogs off to walk the other way.
“I’ve seen people come down here with their dogs, pick up the poop, and hang the bags in the trees or leave it on the side of the road for someone else to pick up. It’s not right. What’s the point of picking up after your dog and then leaving it there,” Moore said.
Many dog owners said they’ve heard rumours that CN plans to block access to the waterfront, but CN communications manager Keli Svendson said in an email there were no plans to do that.
She did say, however, that CN is clamping down on people trespassing on the tracks.
Charles Tree has seen many people picking up after their dogs when he’s out walking with his two and when it comes to leashes, he makes sure to leash them when he’s walking downtown.
“My dogs are well trained. They heal and they don’t crap downtown, they’ve been taught not to,” Tree said.
A dog park would be great for Rupert, he agreed.
“There are tons of people with dogs and that’s why they come down here. A dog park would be great, but then there’s the same problem. Everyone needs to pick up after their dogs.”