Tag Archives: dog parks

The public relations nightmare of unscooped poop

Every sector has an issue that, if not managed, becomes its downfall.  In the dog world, I think this issue is poo.  More specifically, it is poo that is not cleaned up.

A woman complained in our newspaper recently about the amount of dog poo that had not been picked up at a local dog park. I have been at our dog park and watched as dog owners conveniently ‘don’t see’ their dog do a poop.  Even less common (and perhaps something to do with kiwi culture?), are the other dog owners who see it but do not bring it to the dog owner’s attention.   I have found that most dog owners are embarrassed and very willing to clean up when the fact of the dog’s neglected poo is mentioned.

In Poole (UK), the local council has resorted to more overt tactics to get dog owners to recognise the errors of their ways.  They spray paint piles of poo green to highlight the scale of the problem.  It was reported that 200 piles of poo were found in one street alone.[1]  The painting campaign augmented other initiatives such as a crackdown by council officers in issuing fines.

In New Zealand, we have the benefit of a lower population density but that should not make us complacent about this problem.  Cities such as Auckland and Christchurch are actively encouraging infill housing and more urban development to stop urban sprawl.  Over time, people and dogs will be living much closer together.

We need to find ways to peacefully co-exist with one another; and leaving faeces for people to step in is not one of them.  There are also indications that dog waste contributes to water pollution through runoff.

Since August 2009 (when most supermarkets began charging for carry bags) free bags are harder to come by.  Our dog park has posted at least one plea for urgent bag donations.  However, is the lack of a plastic bag an adequate excuse for not cleaning up after your dog? 

There are plenty of other sources of bags and responsible dog owners always have a supply, even in the glove box of the car. Ask your non-dog-owning friends and co-workers to save bags for you.  Bread bags and produce bags work just as well as carry bags.  As a last resort, a roll of freezer bags will set you back a couple of dollars at the supermarket.  The last roll I purchased allowed me to pick up no less than 60 piles of poo!

It is very concerning to see the evidence of dog owners who are not cleaning up after their dog.  It gives all of us a bad name.  If your dog could talk, I wonder if they would say, “I poop.  You pick it up.  Any questions?”[2]


[1] BBC News, August 2010

[2] Puget Sound Starts Here campaign poster (Washington, USA)

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

A city good for dogs is great for humans

I went to a talk earlier this week by Stephen Jenkinson, who is visiting New Zealand from the UK.  Stephen works as a consultant in the UK, with clients including kennel clubs and other agencies.  His area of interest is how public authorities can help reduce conflict over dogs and dog ownership by providing adequate facilities and opportunities for dog owners to do the right thing.

This type of urban planning helps to make dog ownership easy.  For example, you don’t have to drive across town to find an off-leash dog park because there will be dog exercise areas that are within walking distance. (This helps to reduce traffic, greenhouse gas emissions, and conflict when dog owners take their dog off-lead in a ‘normal’ park or reserve.)    Areas in larger recreational parks may be designated for use by dogs and their owners, thus keeping other tracks free for other users who do not want to play or engage with dogs.  And there is a growing body of knowledge around design of dog-friendly accommodation such as apartments and condominiums.

Stephen feels that there is opportunity for the rebuild of Christchurch to do better for dogs, their owners, and all non-dog people.   Sadly, no one from the Christchurch City Council, CERA, or Gerry Brownlee’s office participated in Mr Jenkinson’s public talk on Monday evening.  That signals a lack of senior level buy-in and support for the concepts.

I’ll be doing more research on this topic over the coming weeks and months, but if you’d like to get a flavour for what Mr Jenkinson talked about, you can listen to him speak with Kim Hill on Radio NZ National.

Consultant Stephen Jenkinson with his Border Collie

Pet parks at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport

In May, I featured an item about the pet relief area at the Maui airport.

Did you know that in 2008, the US Department of Transportation passed a law called the Air Carrier Accessibility Act?  This Act requires airports to have relief facilities available to service dogs.

Many airports have since realised the value of catering to their customers who are traveling with their dogs and opened up these facilities not only to service dogs but all dogs.  One airport that is leading the way is the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.  This airport has pet parks at all three of its passenger terminals.  They are:

  • The Bone Yard (Terminal 4)
  • The Paw Pad (Terminal 3)
  • The Pet Patch (Terminal 2)

If you are traveling through Phoenix, remember that the Airport offers these facilities and, if you’re not, here’s a great video of the Airport’s pet parks for you to enjoy: