TORONTO — The temperatures may be up but amidst the mud and melting snow there is plenty left behind by dog owners and their pets.
The amount of animal excrement left on public property is almost unmanageable by city standards.
“We pick up waste from residents in Toronto in our parks all year long,” Parks, Forestry and Recreation spokesperson Matthew Cutler said.
“At this time of year it becomes incredibly clear as the snow clears just how incredibly filthy things can become.”
Stewart Kirkpatrick emailed Global News and said he often has to be on the lookout while walking his daughter to daycare near Bloor Street West and Islington Avenue.
“There have been one or two instances when people actually haven’t picked up after their dog,” Kirkpatrick said.
“It can be a bit of an inconvenience to negotiate around that.”
Signs are up in city parks reminding dog owners to ‘please pick up after your pet’ but the need to stoop and scoop is often ignored during the winter.
“The material is toxic so it has implications on our horticulture and on our turf,” Cutler said.
“We clean up animal waste as part of our normal cleanup process. We don’t have a proactive approach to go out and clean up this particular substance.”
City of Toronto bylaws state that every dog owner has to remove excrement on all property anywhere in the city.
The maximum fine for not doing so is $240 but charges are rarely laid.
“We can’t go around DNA testing everything we find and sending tickets out,” Cutler said.
Those forced to step around what dog owners have failed to pick up believe there needs to be some accountability.
“I think it’s a personal responsibility,” Kirkpatrick said. “I also can’t direct my ire at the dog itself. The poor dog has to go somewhere.”