You better scoop and keep that leash on too

New signs post the SPCA's phone number and remind pet owners about Campbell River bylaws

Sheila Keats walks SPCA dog Buster

Sheila Keats can’t count the number of times she’s been approached by people frustrated with trying to report incidents to the SPCA.

Keats, a volunteer dog walker for the SPCA for at least seven years, says she’s often mistaken as a shelter staffer while out walking the dogs through city parks and recreational areas.

On several occasions, she’s been approached by people complaining that they’ve witnessed a dog bylaw infraction, but don’t know how to report it.

“A lady approached me saying there was an off-leash incident the other day and she didn’t know the number to call,” Keats says. “I looked at the sign and realized ‘yeah, you’re kinda right.’  Another lady tracked down city hall’s number but was then directed to the SPCA’s number.”

Keats says the problem is there is no phone number posted in city parks, where letting dogs off their leash is prohibited under a city bylaw.

“The same sense of frustration is felt when they see owners failing to clean up after their pets,” she says. “Many people carry cell phones, but first they have to find the right number to call.”

Keats wrote a letter to council, suggesting the city put stickers with the SPCA’s phone number on the park bylaw signs. Coun. Andy Adams was impressed with Keats’ suggestion.

“I think this is a great idea, to put the hotline number to inform the SPCA of violations,” he said at a council meeting June 26.

Keats received a letter from the city a few days later saying council had adopted her idea.

SPCA manager Kathleen Embree, says getting the information on the bylaw signs is a good step.

“Having the numbers on the those signs is going to help because people don’t know who to call,” she says. “It won’t increase our response time but it will be easier for the public.”

Embree says people do call to report offenders, with Dick Murphy Park (Tyee spit) followed by Robron Park having the most incidents. The SPCA will give out $100 fines to repeat offenders.

who let their dogs off leash or who don’t pick up after their pet.

The only off leash city park is Penfield West Linear Park, off Joanne Drive near Hilchey Road. Embree said dogs are also allowed to run leash-free around the estuary trails and in the Beaver Lodge Lands.