The first Sunday in May…the perfect day to be at the park! Hundreds of volunteers agreed and turned out for the 18th Annual Kilcona Park Dog Club/ Royal LePage Prime Spring Clean-up.
Armed with buckets, bags, rakes, shovels and pooper scoopers, and enjoying the warm, sunny weather, the Poo Crew pitched in to clean up and spruce up our favorite dog park. Thanks to everyone who performed the seriously unpleasant task of picking up other people’s dog poop to make our park cleaner, safer, and more attractive.
This spring’s clean-up will be remembered for two things.
The first…A dedicated team of volunteers also picked up coyote scat in the interest of science. Coyote scat can be recognized by the presence of bones, fur and feathers. Fifty samples were collected along the Forest Trail, near the northern ponds behind homes on Knowles Avenue, and on the hill in the off-leash hill.
The collection was done in support of a research project the is being directed by MB Health, the University of Manitoba and the WRHA. Investigators wish to know if a species of tapeworm that has been introduced into Canada from Europe and Asia is present in wolves, coyotes, foxes and dogs in the Winnipeg area. While the tapeworm is harmless to dogs, it causes serious disease that is difficult to treat when transmitted to humans. Many Poo Crew volunteers also provided baggies with fresh samples of their dogs’ feces that researchers will test for the parasite.
The second thing – a matter of great concern to clean-up volunteers – is how incredibly filthy almost every part of the park was this spring. Poop everywhere! While most Kilcona dog owners are responsible pet owners, some obviously are not.
If you are one of the scofflaws who thinks you don’t have to pick up if you dog heads into the tall grass, you’re busted! It’s a very dangerous practice. Dog waste that hides in the weeds carries the same disease-causing bacteria and parasites as it does in the short grass and along the trails.
Spring run-off carries fecal matter from the hills down into the ponds, contaminating the water where dogs swim and drink.
Kilcona’s responsible dog owners have grown tired of such irresponsible behavior. They are reporting park users who violate the law and Winnipeg Animal Services is acting on those reports. Here’s the process.
Animal Services advises park users to carry spare bags. If you see a pet owner not pick up after their dog, offer them a bag. If the person refuses to co-operate, take photos of the dog, the person, and their vehicle license plate. Email the photos to the City at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Animal Services investigates every complaint except anonymous ones. You will be asked to provide your name, address and phone number but that information will not be given out to the offender.
So far this spring, Animal Services has received 283 complaints. Sixty-six resulted in warnings and 21 pet owners have been ticketed. Fines for not cleaning up after your dog range from $200 to $400.
Hundreds of bags of unclaimed dog waste were picked up at Kilcona Park on Sunday. Thanks to KPDC’s outstanding Poo Crew for a brilliant performance!
City of Winnipeg staff and consultants are holding a pop-up event at Kilcona Park next Saturday from 10am to 2pm. They’re looking for your feedback about Winnipeg’s proposed Off-leash Area Master Plan.
This is a critical time in the evolution of Winnipeg dog parks. Saturday’s event is pretty much the last chance Winnipeg dog owners will have a say in what our dog parks will look like in the future, how they will be managed, and who will have the right to use them. Please make an an extra effort to be there and add your voice to the call for high-quality, single-use off-leash dog parks.
Under City’s proposed plan, only the smallest dog parks (between .25 and .75 ha) will be single-use. All others, including large regional dog park like Kilcona, as well as community dog parks, and neighbourhood off-leash areas like Transcona’s new Devonshire Dog Park will be multiple-use. That means that runners, cyclists, school groups, picknickers and other special interest groups will still be able to use off-leash areas for their own activities.
If there are any issues between off-leash dogs and other off-leash dog park users, the City deems the dog owner is at fault. For example, if your dog is tempted to chase a bike or a runner in an off-leash area, the fine is $200.
At last spring’s public consultations, dog park stakeholders including KPDC asked that all off-leash areas be single-use, set aside for the exclusive use of dogs and their owners. We asked that runners, bicyclists, picnickers, community festivals and other special interest groups not be given the right to use off-leash areas for their own activities.
KPDC argued that this is a reasonable standard since one in four Winnipeg homes has at least one dog, Winnipeg currently has 10,000 acres of green space, and City Council has only set aside about 200 acres of green space for dog parks. It is reasonable in the same way that dogs are not allowed on soccer and baseball fields, golf courses, and other special use areas – even when they are on-leash.
In June, through the Winnipeg Network of Dog Owner Groups, KPDC’s Board appealed to the four City Councillors who sit on the Off-leash Area Master Plan Steering Committee for single-use dog parks – Russ Wyatt, John Orlikow, Ross Eadie, and Mike Pagtikhan. After six months, the Councillors still have not responded.
If you are unable to attend Saturday’s pop-up at Kilcona, please make your views know through the online survey at winnipeg.ca/offleashareas.
Let Mayor Bowman and your City Councillor know that you support single-use dog parks and that for safety, you support new legislation that would prevent unsupervised children from entering off-leash areas.
Please send your emails to City Councillors at the following email addresses. If you copy email@example.com, KPDC is better able to support the views of individual members.
Mayor Brian Bowman – firstname.lastname@example.org
Matthew Allard (St. Boniface) – email@example.com
Jeff Browaty (N. Kildonan) – firstname.lastname@example.org
Shawn Dobson (St. Charles) -email@example.com
Ross Eadie (Mynarski) – firstname.lastname@example.org
Jennie Gerbasi (Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry) -email@example.com
Scott Gillingham (St. James-Brooklands-Weston) – firstname.lastname@example.org
WHERE KILCONA DOG LOVERS ARE MEETING –
KPDC’s Annual General Meeting is being held on Thursday night at 6:30pm at the Bronx Community Centre – Henderson Highway and Bronx Avenue, one block south of Henderson and Kimberley.
WHY YOU WANT TO ATTEND –
1. KPDC’s Board is proposing an expansion to Kilcona’s off-leash area. The Board needs members’ input if the club’s proposal is to win the approval of City Council. A vote will be held at the AGM on the proposed expansion.
2. This week your Board met with Councillors Wyatt (Transcona) and Browaty (North Kildonan) and City officials to discuss the installation of potable water in Kilcona’s off-leash area. Learn more about where the project stands and provide your input into the proposal to bring clean, fresh drinking water into the park
3.The City is developing a new off-leash area management plan that will apply to all existing and new dog parks. KPDC has asked the City to make all dog parks single-use (for example, to prohibit runners and bicycles in off-leash areas) and in the interest of safety, to pass legislation to prevent unsupervised children from entering dog parks. Learn how you can have a say in how Winnipeg’s dog parks will be managed and what facilities and services the City will will provide.
4 . Kilcona Park Dog Club’s AGM is certainly not all about work.
– It’s a fun time to socialize with other dog park friends.
-Win free gift certificates with admission – first come, first served.
KPDC welcomes you input in moving forward on the water features project , the dog park expansion and the City’s off-leash area management plan. The Board to hear your views at the Annual General Meeting on Thursday night.
President – Kilcona Park Dog Club Inc.
Kilcona Park Dog Club has just installed two new in-ground waste bins in one of the most heavily used parts of the off-leash area. One bin is next to the waste bag dispenser on the north-south service road; the other is located where the service road connects to the North Pond Trail near the entrance to the sheltered winter pond trails.
Good news! The new lever handles make them much easier to open than the older bins. Each bin holds the equivalent of 20 standard park litter baskets.
The high-capacity bins will make it easier for dog owners to comply with Winnipeg’s “stoop and scoop” by-law.
Four factors made the service road a priority for in-ground bins.
Most dog park visitors exit the parking lot by heading north on the service road. From there, they access the network of off-leash trails.
Little known fact – dogs typically defecate along the first 250 metres of a trail.
No surprise – dog feces tend to accumulate in the most heavily used areas.
Until now there have only been two small litter baskets along the road. One is removed in the winter.
KPDC’s Waste Management Pilot Project is a response to environmental concerns, canine health-related issues, and on-going complaints from responsible dog owners and other park users about unclaimed dog feces at Kilcona Park.
Dog owners’ identified a need for more waste bins in heavy-use areas, especially during prolonged periods of extreme wind chills — in the -40 C to -45 C range – that we experienced in January 2017 when KPDC surveyed park users.
“Of all the years I’ve been coming to Kilcona, the dog crap situation this winter is, without question, the absolute worst. On the service road heading north, a literal carpet of crap existed within the first 8’ from the road edges prior to the recent thaw…”
“I hope there will also be more garbage cans for the poop bags…the only thing worse than poop on the ground is poop, preserved in a bag, laying on the ground forever.”
“In the on-leash section of the park there are no dispensers and the number of waste bins has gone down. Lately I’ve seen poop bags thrown about and the amount of poop left lying around had gone up. I think these things are connected.”
“More garbage cans along the paths, not everyone wants to carry a bag of poop as some paths don’t have any garbage cans!”
“If it’s about poop that is not right by the pathway…I think it may not have been picked up as the snow is so deep and you’d sink knee and sometimes hip deep to get to it, so I know I didn’t pick it up. What I did do is that I would try to pick up another poop in my travels to make up for it, if I could…”
“I remember being very impressed with the improved cleanliness of the park last fall. My only guess about the change this past January is…the particularly cold and snowy December…”
Canine Health and Environmental Issues – Veterinarians have informed KPDC that dogs that swim in or drink Kilcona’s retention pond water are getting sick. KPDC’s independent testing of the pond water by ASL Environmental in 2014 and 2015 confirmed the presence of alarmingly high levels of E. coli bacteria in the ponds.
It is worth noting that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers unclaimed dog waste a serious environmental and public health issue. The agency labels dog feces a nonpoint source (NPS) pollutant and places it in the same category as herbicides and insecticides; oil, grease and toxic chemicals; and acid drainage from abandoned mines.
A single gram of dog waste contains approximately 23 million fecal coliform bacteria, which are known to cause include stomach cramps, bloody diarrhea, vomiting and fever. The bacteria can also cause infections of the urinary tract, skin and mucous membranes, pneumonia and other respiratory illnesses, and can even lead to death in humans and animals.
The City of Winnipeg has indicated that dog and wildlife feces are the most likely sources of coliform bacteria in Kilcona’s ponds. Although this has not been proven, the assumption is reasonable. In other jurisdictions, runoff from dog parks have been found to contribute to unnaturally high levels of bacteria in waterways.
Dog feces are also one of the most common carriers of other disease: parvovirus, coronavirus, giardiasis, salmonellosis, cryptosporidiosis, campylobacteriosis, and parasites like hookworms, roundworms, and tapeworms.
The new in-ground bins are also a response to three other Kilcona Dog Park management issues. A 2011 report commissioned by Parks and Open Space identifies factors that discourage dog owners from complying with the “stoop and scoop” by-law:
Kilcona’s waste receptacles are spaced too far apart.
The spacing of receptacles is not uniform throughout the park.
The location of the receptacles change periodically.
Off-leash area management research has shown that one of the barriers to compliance is the awkwardness and physical discomfort in extremely cold temperatures of carrying a waste-filled bag for a long distance. Even responsible dog owners have been known to abandon a filled waste bag because their hands were freezing.
KPDC appreciates the broad community support for the Dog Waste Management Pilot Project and thanks our partners who’ve made the project possible and sustainable.
During Phase One, Royal LePage Prime Real Estate partnered with Kilcona Park Dog Club to purchase waste bag dispensers.
Since the dispensers were installed, Royal LePage Prime has purchase over 150,000 waste bags.
Kilcona Park staff monitor the bag dispensers, kept them filled, and notified KPDC when supplies are running low.
In response to a November 2016 survey of over 900 KPDC members and park users, 80% perceived the park as being somewhat or much cleaner.
85% of respondents reported they pick up after their dogs all the time and 14% picked up most of the time. Only 1% reported picking up sometimes.
18% of respondents reported picking up more often because of the convenience of the bags.
71% of respondents perceived that people were doing a better job of picking up after their dogs.
85% of respondents brought their own bags, relying on the dispensers only in an emergency.
Kilcona Park Dog Club’s Board of Directors encourages members to “lead by example”. Keep our favorite dog park clean and safe for our fur kids and ourselves. Offer bags to those in need, and exert civic peer pressure to encourage negligent dog owners to become more responsible.
The findings of KPDC’s pilot project have been published. An electronic copy of Kilcona Park Waste Bag Pilot Project Evaluation is available on request.
Are you looking for a fun and fulfilling way to serve your community? Are you passionate about your favourite dog park and willing to work actively to make Kilcona the best off-leash area in Winnipeg?
As a member of Kilcona Park Dog Club’s Board of Directors, you’ll have the perfect opportunity to use your knowledge, skills, life experiences and insights to give back to a cause you care about.
On November 23, KPDC will elect its 2018 Board of Directors. There are two vacancies that must be filled if the club is to have the resources it needs to move forward with priority park improvements – bringing potable water into the dog park and installing a drinking fountain and rinse station.
Directors act as ambassadors for KPDC, attend 6 meetings a year, and manage the affairs of the club between meetings. These are voluntary positions; however reasonable expenses are paid. Terms are for one year.
All KPDC members over the age of 18 are welcome to serve on the Board of Directors. Prior Board experience is not necessary. KPDC, in cooperation with Volunteer Manitoba, provides not-for-profit Board training to all Directors.
Interested in serving on the Board and/or want more information? Please email Donna Henry at email@example.com.