Waterloo launches campaign to tackle the city's puppy problems

The City of Waterloo is implementing new, "community-driven" solutions to tackle issues associated with dog owners leaving their four-legged friends' poop on the ground or allowing pups off-leash.

City staff are committing to adding new signage, launching a communications campaign and installing more dog waste recycling containers this fall.

The changes come after an Engage Waterloo survey conducted this year about dog owner challenges yielded more than 1,500 responses.

Ten more dog waste recycling containers will be installed at parks across the city this fall. They will be located at:

  • New Hampshire Park
  • Bechtel Park
  • Waterloo Park West
  • Larch Street
  • Beechdrops Park
  • Dunvegan Park
  • Regency Park
  • Forested Hills
  • Westvale Park
  • Anndale Park

The 10 new waste containers will bring the city's total to 23.

"If you have more of these in the area you will have more people getting rid of their waste instead of leaving it," said dog owner Ryan Eagles.

“The good news is that people are aware of the need to stoop and scoop,” Rory Doucette, Waterloo's manager of turf, construction and playgrounds, said in a release. “By adding more dog waste recycling containers in highly requested areas, I hope dog owners will adjust their walk to use the containers, especially if they don’t want to hold a poop bag until they get home.”

Last year, the city estimates dog waste containers diverted more than 29,000 lbs of waste from the landfill.

"It's just being more responsible with it and averting it from a landfill," Doucette explained. "Sutera has the green bins to send our waste to the power plants where they take the methane and covert it into usable power."

Meanwhile, staff said the communications campaign will focus on generating awareness for the importance of keeping dogs on-leash.

"It is against the bylaw to let your dog off-leash. If your dog needs to run free, take it to the leash-free dog park at Bechtel Park," Nicole Papke, Waterloo's director of enforcement, said in a release.

Despite some survey respondents requesting steeper fines and more enforcement for off-leash dogs, Papke said the goal is to educate first before handing out a ticket.

There are currently no plans to create timelines for off-leash use at neighbourhood parks.

The city does plan to open a new leash-free dog park in west Waterloo in 2022.

With files from CTV Kitchener's Natalie van Rooy.