Come August, the blackberry bushes near Joanne Turner’s house explode with berries and are supremely popular with resident pickers.
Bordering the popular Brighton Avenue trail in Oak Bay, they’d become unruly and in need of serious trim, Turner admitted. But when municipal crews hacked back the blackberries, it revealed a rainbow of dog poop bags hanging like ornaments among the remaining brambles.
Turner plucked them out and piled them up on the corner to make a point, leaving a pylon, sign and bin filled beyond its brim.
She fielded many responses while picking through the thorny remains to gather more than 100 of the bags. Passersby insisted ‘they’d never,’ and lamented the litterbugs of the community. It wasn’t a huge surprise for Turner whose husband has plucked a few from their garden, adjacent to the path and likely tossed a little too hard into or over the brush.
“It’s disgusting and not only that it’s illegal to litter,” Turner said.
All dog feces must be picked up and disposed of by the dog owner, according to Oak Bay’s animal control bylaw. Dog waste can contribute to the spread of disease, produces a noxious environment, and it shouldn’t be allowed to enter storm drains.
The bylaw prescribes a $50 fine for failure to remove excrement.
It includes pooping on public or private property (not owned by the pet owner). The expectation is the dog owner or individual in charge of the animal will remove the feces promptly, secure it an impermeable bag and place in a municipal garbage bin.
In a twist of consideration for the irresponsible dog walkers, Turner notes there are no garbage bins in the vicinity.
“People don’t want to carry it longer than they have to and there are no garbage bins,” Turner noted. She hopes the district will consider installing one.
Turner reported the infraction to Oak Bay bylaw, and received an automated response noting a backup of calls due to COVID-19. Bylaw enforcement is focused on health and safety issues, and minor bylaw complaints are not being acted on at this time, the automated response noted.
Oak Bay contracts Victoria Animal Control Services to enforce its animal control bylaw, including the requirement to remove feces. Report issues by phone at 250-414-0233 or in person at 564 David St.