Spring has finally sprung. The tiny green grass shoots are peeking out from the dull, yellow, grass of yester-winter, the birds are chirping by the bedroom windows, and the leaf buds are poking out on tree branches. Unfortunately, with the melting of the snow, there’s also an unseemly sight that has some Airdronians irked: dog feces. 

Over the past few weeks, numerous social media posts written by the city’s residents expressed frustration at some dog owners’ unwillingness or perhaps forgetfulness to clean up after their pets in public areas, namely parks. It’s a sentiment that seems to be renewed each year, just like the season. 

Maury Karch, the Coordinator of municipal enforcement with the city of Airdrie, who is also a dog owner said that the warmer weather and the lack of COVID-19 restrictions means more and more people are out and about with their pets. 

“I frequent a couple of dog parks and when the snow melts, we do see an increase of dogs running at large. As it warms up, weekends are worse. Evenings are worse due to the fact that people do work. So, it is an increasing problem,” he said. 

Karch said that the majority of the calls he received with regards to complaints have been in the area of  Williamstown, between Williamstown and Silver Creek as well as Ralph McCall School. 

He reminded residents that if they are caught not cleaning up after their pooch the fine is $350 for a first offence. However, the problem is catching someone red-handed, or in this case without a doggy bag in hand. Karch said that because almost 99 per cent of the time, a member of the public is the one who witnesses a dog owner not cleaning up, it sets into motion a long and arduous process. 

“That person is going to have to supply a statement and we're going to have to do an investigation to see if it's the correct owner,” Karch said. “So it is a lot to get a conviction because you have to find out without a doubt it was this person with this dog.” 

However, he did mention that city by-law officers will be teaming up with the Airdrie RCMP on bike patrols starting next month to keep an eye out for such things. 

“One of their responsibilities is to educate people with regards to dogs running at large and defecating.” 

Karch underlined that there are dog bag dispensers in many of Airdrie’s parks that residents can take advantage of if they have forgotten their own. He also underlined that as far as having one’s pet off-leash goes, that is only allowed in the off-leash dog parks and nowhere else.  

According to Airdrie’s Animal Control Bylaw No. B-33/2016, “All Persons must be physically capable of having all Dogs in his/her custody in an Off-Leash Area Under Control. A Person in an Off-Leash Area shall ensure that such Dog is Under the Control of the Person at all times.” 

The fine for a dog ‘running at large’ where it is not allowed can be $250. 

Karch did add that by and large, he believes Airdronians are responsible when it comes to pet ownership, but sometimes it can only take a few to spoil it for the rest.

"A lot of people out there and I see it quite often as [dogs] are on leashes. I believe the city does an excellent job of providing stuff out there. But it only takes a few."


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