Dog waste a problem in Liberty Village
Geoff Webb of the Liberty Village Dog Owners Association points to lack of green space in the area

Parkdale Villager  by Geoff Webb

Geoff Webb loves the dog community in his neighbourhood, but not the mess it leaves behind.

Owners who fail to clean up after their dogs are causing a significant problem in Liberty Village, Webb said.

“Dog waste (has) been an issue since the buildings came up, and it’s becoming more problematic,” he said.

The growing population in Liberty Village, and the increased number of dog owners, is making things a little less comfortable for all members of the community, Webb said.

A recent walking tour around the neighbourhood reveals dog waste scattered across Liberty Village Park and the adjacent streets.

Webb, one of the 170 members of the Liberty Village Dog Owners Association, often carries extra dog waste disposal bags to give to residents he sees failing to pick up after their dogs.

“Most of them are compliant and are a bit ashamed, but some can be verbally abusive,” Webb said.

For some, he attributes the problem to “entitlement issues” – dog owners who see their pets as “fashion statements” and do not take responsibility for cleaning up after them.

Others simply don’t have a place to put the waste during their daily walk, and leave the filled bags behind, he said.

The city has started to address the lack of disposal areas by installing new disposal bins around the park and near condo buildings along East Liberty Street.

But Webb, who owns a bulldog named Tucker, said the waste issue points to a larger problem in the area: a lack of green space.

“Essentially we have less than an acre of green space servicing thousands of people,” Webb said.

Liberty Village Park, the small, central area where most dogs and their owners congregate, is tattered as a result of dog digging and the amount of waste.
“The dogs take over and it lessens other residents’ ability to use parks,” Webb said.

Local councillor Mike Layton agreed dogs are becoming a major factor in Liberty Village.

“No one contemplated the number of dogs that would be in the area. I often joke that there’s five dogs for every half a child per floor in Liberty Village,” Layton said.

Plans for a linear dog park as part of the existing Bill Johnston Park across Western Battery Road is currently in the works. Layton said there was a demand for an off-leash area for dogs.

The new area will relieve the density of Liberty Village Park, which Layton says is getting “significant amounts of wear and is just not a large space.”

Though there has been some designated funding for the project, the new dog area is still in its preliminary design and will be sent for a public consultation.

Webb, who said he hopes construction on this new green space will begin next spring, says it won’t just be beneficial to the area’s furry friends. He points to Rita Cox Park, just west on King Street and Dufferin Street, that accommodates a similar residential area.

“It formed the whole community,” Webb said.

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