George Jay Elementary may have its name changed if its parental advisory council pushes forward. (File contributed/Fernwood NRG)

Schoolyard dog poop riles Victoria parents

Parents advocate for stronger fines, more signage in the neighbourhood around George Jay Elementary

Parents at Victoria’s George Jay Elementary School are fed up with the amount of dog poop being left on the school’s fields.

The North Park school has two fields; one owned by the Greater Victoria School District (SD61) and one owned by the City of Victoria. Both, said Parent Advisory Council president Angela Carmichael, are being covered in dog poop left behind by owners who use the fields as off-leash parks.

“We really understand it’s not malicious, no one wants to get dog poop on kids,” Carmichael said. “But what owners are doing is letting dogs off the leash, and in the winter it’s darker longer, so they can easily lose sight of their dog and what it’s doing.”

The ensuing consequences, she said, is that kids trek the feces into the schools, smear it into the carpets and then sit on the carpets and get it on their clothes.

ALSO READ: Victoria residents divided over changing school name due to its racist history

“I’ve had that happen to my son, and all of a sudden that poop is in my house,” she said. “These kids are five, six, seven years old. The onus isn’t on the kids to not step on feces.”

Besides the inconvenience of cleaning clothes and the expense of having carpets professionally cleaned, there are health concerns about kids coming into contact with the excrement.

“It’s a disgusting problem and it’s 100 per cent preventable,” Carmichael said.

What she wants to see is clear signage reminding dog owners that the area is a school zone, and that dogs should remain on the leash. She also hopes to see fines increased for bylaw contraventions.

Presently, under the City of Victoria bylaws there is a $100 fine for dogs that are off-leash in public, and another $100 for not picking up dog excrement.

ALSO READ: Volunteer needed to empty dog poop can in Saanich Park

Black Press Media reached out to the City for comment on its animal control services and bylaw amendments, but no one was immediately available.

School District 61, however, said they are aware of the issue.

“With student health and safety being a priority for the District, we remind pet owners to please be neighbourly and clean up after their animals,” said SD61 spokesperson Lisa McPhail in an emailed statment. “The District will continue to monitor the usage of school grounds and will post additional signage in an effort to remind our community that we have youth that use the space for active play.”

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

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