By Chris Lewis | Aug. 20, 2020
A Paradise resident says his lawn has gone to the dogs.
Lawrence Fifield has been living in and tending to his late father’s old home for approximately six years. For much of that time, Fifield has been having issues with neighbourhood dogs that he says are on a near constant prowl.
The crux of the issue, Fifield explained, is the unwanted “gifts” they leave behind.
“They’re crapping all over the place, and I’m the one who has to go down and clean it up off the lawn,” he said. “I’m plagued by it every year, every summer.”
When asked how often he has to pick up after the dogs’ visits, Fifield said he would not be able to count it, noting it’s a regular occurrence on a yearly basis.
Equipped with a cellphone loaded with pictures of dog waste, Fifield has brought his concerns to both residents in the neighbourhood, as well as council.
He said his calls to council are also an annual occurrence. However, each year his hope for a solution becomes more of a dream, as he said council’s hands seem to be only slightly less tied than his own.
“They talk to the residents, but that’s about all they do,” said Fifield. “(The dogs) are kept in all night and then, in the morning, they either get out or are let out, and then that’s it. It repeats over and over. Last time I called, they never even phoned me back. So, I’m up to my ears.”
Efforts to raise the problem with locals in the neighbourhood have fallen on deaf ears, he added. He said he is hoping, with the help of his brother, to erect some kind of fence to keep the canines off his property. Since Fifield himself is not the owner of the land, he said the most he can do is try to make his concerns heard, and continue picking up after the dogs in the meantime.
The Town of Paradise’s bylaws state that animals are to be leashed while outside. The town also maintains a free pet registration system which can make it easy for the animal control officer to track down the owners of a loose pet – that is if the pet is registered, said Mayor Dan Bobbett.
The mayor said roaming pets are something the Town receives calls about every so often, especially during the warmer seasons.
“It’s not extraordinary to hear about. Sometimes people’s pets get loose, sometimes they let them loose – it happens,” Bobbett said, noting he could not speak directly about Fifield’s situation. “If it does get loose, the system makes it easy for our animal control people to find the owner. From there, they get a warning about controlling their pet as much as possible. Any issues with neighbours, we tend to try and get the complainant to try and resolve it personally.”
When that does not work, Bobbett said, it can become a lengthy process of filing charges against the pet owners.
“You hear about issues like this from time to time – roaming pets, dogs leaving excrement behind, things like that,” he said. “If it gets to a certain point, we do have the ability to ticket them, and at that point it becomes a legal issue. We’ll take it further, if need be. But, we try to resolve things amicably first and tell them that they’ve got the chance to control their pet. If not, then we’ll take action.”
Fifield said he has gone to law enforcement about his issues, but that too has not produced any kind of fix. He described it as a tiring situation.
“If I cut the grass and forget about these dogs, I’m not even going to get half of it done before I have to turn it off and sit down to clean up the crap off the blade,” Fifield said. “It’s a state. I really don’t like it, and it’s like nobody cares. These dogs must not be tied on, they’re always loose. I’m on my last limb trying to deal with this.”