Saskatoon woman worried that university’s pest control methods pose threat to dogs, people

A Saskatoon woman says the methods used by the University of Saskatchewan may be dangerous for dogs and visitors to the campus.

Sara Bryson says she was walking toward the Murray Library on Monday to grab coffee with a friend when she noticed an employee of a pest control company with a university employee.

“I approached the man and asked what they were doing, and they said they're looking for a way to control the ground squirrel population,” she said.

She went inside the Murray Library to grab her coffee and then came back out.

“The man who was doing his job and had a large bucket of rodent bait and was using a ladle to pour it down all of the ground squirrel burrows,” she said. “It clearly said rodent bait.”

The pest control company operating on the grounds confirmed to CTV it used Rozol Bait pesticide. Rozol Prairie Dog Bait is made with chlorophacinone, a poison commonly used to kill rodents.

“These ground squirrels are kind of a keystone species of the prairies and they're a native animal,” Bryson said.

“There's also people walking their dogs here or just people walking on the grass (who) can pick up the poisonous seeds.”

Bryson volunteers with Living Sky Wildlife Rehabilitation and is a board member of the Saskatoon Nature Society. She says she spoke with a university employee asking her if they were using poisons.

“He said they were looking for other options.”

On the U of S Office of Sustainability website, it states, “A variety of techniques and strategies are used to eliminate or reduce the need for pesticides.”

CTV News reached out to the University for a Comment and was given a response by the Associate Vice President, Services Wade Epp:

“The university has had a humane pest control program for many years. Controlling pest populations is a common practice at the university because they can pose a number of safety issues as well as damage property. During summer months, with increased foot traffic and the addition of Kids Camps, The Bowl could present injury risk if a program such as this was not in place. Ensuring the safety of our campus community is our top priority.”