Waterloo implements community-driven solutions related to dog ownership

Posted On Thursday October 07, 2021

In an Engage Waterloo survey conducted earlier this year, over 1500 people contributed thoughts and ideas to solve challenges associated with dog owners leaving dog poop on the ground and allowing their dogs off-leash.

Rory Doucette, Waterloo’s manager of turf, construction and playgrounds, is pleased with the survey results. “It’s clear the community recognizes these challenges and most of the suggestions are reasonable,” says Doucette. “We aren’t able to install as many dog waste recycling containers as requested, but we are doing our best to meet the demand and implement as many solutions as possible that were proposed in the survey.” 

Some of the solutions proposed by the community include:  

  • Social media awareness
  • Let dog owners know people are afraid of dogs off-leash
  • More signage, steeper fines, more enforcement
  • More trash bins and more dog waste recycling containers
  • Partner with dog organizations on an awareness campaign
  • Create more off-leash areas, create timelines for off-leash use in parks

City staff have committed to implementing the following solutions based on community input:

  1. Install new signage
    • Staff will install new signs in parks and near trails with clear language – pick up dog poop and keep your dog on a leash all the time
  2. Communications campaign
    • Staff will soon launch a communications campaign involving radio coverage, social media, a story map, and a collaboration with local dog organizations and groups to help generate awareness of the importance of keeping dogs on-leash, as well as the benefits of using the dog waste recycling containers
  3. Install 10 more dog waste recycling containers in Fall 2021
    • Prior to the Engage survey, staff had earmarked these locations:
      • New Hampshire Park
      • Bechtel Park
      • Waterloo Park West
      • Beechdrops Park
    • Based on the locations submitted by the community, staff will install a container in these additional five locations:
      • Dunvegan Park
      • Regency Park
      • Forested Hills
      • Westvale Park
      • Anndale Park

 “The good news is that people are aware of the need to stoop and scoop,” says Doucette. “By adding more dog waste recycling containers in highly requested areas, I hope dog owners will adjust their walk to use the containers, especially if they don’t want to hold a poop bag until they get home.” Doucette confirms he will keep the list of locations submitted by the community for future consideration should the program continue to expand across Waterloo. 

Steeper fines and more enforcement are a consideration; however, Nicole Papke, director of enforcement for the City of Waterloo believes dog owners need to take responsibility for their pet and follow the existing rules. “Our goal is to educate first, before handing out a ticket,” says Papke. “I am confident the solutions proposed by the community will encourage responsible dog ownership and result in fewer complaints.” 

Papke also reminds dog owners that neighbourhood parks, trails and school yards are no longer safe spaces for people, especially children and older adults, to visit when dogs are there off-leash. “It is against the bylaw to let your dog off-leash. If your dog needs to run free, take it to the leash-free dog park at Bechtel Park.” There are no plans at this time to create timelines for off-leash use in neighbourhood parks, however dog owners can expect a new leash-free dog park on the west side of Waterloo sometime in 2022.

 

About dog waste recycling containers

Since Waterloo council approved the dog waste recycling pilot program in 2017, staff have installed 13 dog waste recycling containers in these parks:

  • Bechtel Dog Park
  • Lakeshore Optimist Park
  • St. Moritz Park
  • McCrae Park
  • Rolling Hills Park
  • Chesapeake Park
  • Old Post Park
  • Moses Springer Park
  • Red River Park
  • Mary Allen Park
  • Pinery Trail Park
  • Vista Hills Park
  • Waterloo Park East

The additional 10 containers installed this fall will bring the total number to 23 containers. 

The dog waste recycling containers are installed underground. Dog owners pick up dog poop and drop it into the container from the opening in the top. Dog owners can use any type of bag for the container – the bag does not have to be compostable. A dog waste removal company empties the containers and ships the waste to be converted into energy. 

Since 2017 when the first three containers were installed, the following estimated results have been recorded: 

2017  

  • 3,185 kgs / 7,022 lbs diverted from the landfill
  • 0.09 tons CO2 removed from atmosphere
  • 1.89 number of homes powered for a year
  • 0.05 number of acres fertilized
  • 0.07 cars off the road for a year

 2018

  • 6,395 kgs / 14,100 lbs diverted from the landfill
  • 0.18 tons CO2 removed from atmosphere
  • 3.78 number of homes powered for a year
  • 0.11 number of acres fertilized
  • 0.14 cars off the road for a year

 2019

  • 9,000 kgs / 19,842 lbs diverted from the landfill
  • 0.25 tons CO2 removed from atmosphere
  • 5.25 number of homes powered for a year
  • 0.15 number of acres fertilized
  • 0.2 cars off the road for a year

 2020

  • 13,297 kgs / 29,315 lbs diverted from the landfill
  • 0.37 tons CO2 removed from atmosphere
  • 7.77 number of homes powered for a year
  • 0.22 number of acres fertilized
  • 0.3 cars off the road for a year

 2021 – up to September 2

  • 9,710 kgs / 21,408 lbs diverted from the landfill
  • 0.27 tons CO2 removed from atmosphere
  • 5.67 number of homes powered for a year
  • 0.16 number of acres fertilized
  • 0.22 cars off the road for a year

 

For more information, please visit the Engage Waterloo project page or waterloo.ca/animals

 

 

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Media contact:

Shelly Reed
Communications consultant
shelly.reed@waterloo.ca