Some West Shore residents have developed a bad habit. It’s one the Sooke School District and City of Langford would like them to break, as too many people are stepping in it.
Some West Shore schools have noticed a number of dog owners using school fields despite posted signage prohibiting pets. Dogs have even been spotted on the rubberized track at Royal Bay secondary school in Col-wood.
“It is the policy that animals aren’t on the property, no matter the convenience to the other person,” said School District 62 spokes- person Lindsay Vogan.
Exceptions include service animals, approved pets for show and tell and class- room pets that live in the school.
It especially becomes a problem for the District when dog owners don’t clean up after their pets. Vogan said it’s creating a health concern, especially around elementary schools where children are most active on the fields, getting their hands dirty and sometimes tracking it through the school, which creates more problems.
Animals are prohibited at all times, she said, not just when school is in session (which is the case for some school districts) and that may be causing some of the confusion for pet owners.
Some alternative locations to exercise your furry friends include Danbrook Park, Glen Lake Beach Park, Kettle Creek and the Langford Lake boat launch, which were all developed with a dog-friendly approach in mind.
Where possible, the City of Langford has also provided dog bag dispensers and nearby waste bins for the convenience of park users who are there to walk their dogs.
However, City staff have noticed lately that some residents are diligent in picking up their dog’s waste, but then dispose of it by tossing the bags into the bushes.
While most of the bags are biodegradable, they do not start to decompose for roughly six months.
As more and more bags accumulate trailside, the natural scenery quickly becomes unsightly.
While the City is looking at expanding the number of dog- friendly areas around Langford, Coun. Lanny Seaton, chair of the parks, recreation, culture and beautification committee, said if the problems continue they may have to stop putting out bag dispensers.
“We can’t have them hanging in the trees,” he said. “We’re just asking everyone to be responsible.”
He encouraged residents to offer a friendly reminder to others if they see someone drop- ping bags in bushes and to maybe suggest a nearby receptacle.
The battle against dog waste bags littering parks and trails isn’t just isolated to Langford, he said, as the Capital Regional District’s park department is facing similar problems.