North

Yellowknife man cleans 'big sea of poop' from walking trail

Local man Bernie Bauhaus has scooped up more than 45 kilograms of dog poop left by careless owners on Yellowknife's Tin Can Hill this spring.

Bernie Bauhaus has scooped up more than 45 kilograms of dog waste from Tin Can Hill

Bernie Bauhaus has cleaned up around 100 pounds of dog poop from the start of the trail on Tin Can Hill this spring. (Submitted by Adrian Bell )

As Yellowknife wakes from winter each spring, melting snow reveals mountains of dog poop left behind by careless owners.

This year, one local man decided he was going to do something about it.

Bernie Bauhaus has been walking his dog on the popular Tin Can Hill walking trail for the past 30 years and has seen how dog waste has accumulated.

"It was just like a big sea of poop, you know, it was just nasty," he said.

It had gotten so bad when he went for a walk several weeks ago, that Bauhaus said he realized something needed to be done. He's taken it upon himself to spend hours on the weekends shoveling away the semi-frozen excrement. 

"You just might as well do it yourself," he said. "That's all there is to it. It's just no point in complaining about it. Just get it done."

So far, Bauhaus said he's hauled about 45 kilograms of doggy waste away from the start of the trail. 

"They have to get the incentive. They have to want to really do it." - Bernie Bauhaus, Yellowknife resident

He isn't asking for any help with his cleanup efforts, but he said someone else may have to pick up the shovel as he's leaving the city at the end of June.

"If people want to do it, they'll do it," he said, adding if owners spent a few hours shovelling poop they'd be more inclined to pick up after their dogs. "They have to get the incentive. They have to want to really do it." 

Bylaws difficult to enforce

The city's dog bylaw does require owners to pick up after their dogs, as well as carry something capable of removing feces — like a bag. And they can't let dog poop accumulate on their own property to the point that it poses a health risk or annoyance to others.

Failure to follow these sections of the bylaw can result in fines of $100.

Dennis Marchiori, the city's director of public safety, said it can be difficult to enforce the bylaws as officers would have to witness owners not cleaning up after their dogs.

Dennis Marchiori, the City of Yellowknife's director of public safety, says it can be difficult to enforce the dog bylaw which requires owners to pick up after their dogs. (CBC)

"The difficult thing is we're not in all places at all times," he said.

But Marchiori said there have been cases where owners were given warnings and fines for allowing too much poop to accumulate on their properties, or for not having bags on them when walking their dog. 

He added it's often when residents make complaints that the department will have a discussion with an owner. 

Marchiori applauds Bauhaus's efforts and said the city hopes to do something to recognize him. He said if more people would do the little things it would make the city a nicer place to live. 

"It's one of those things that I think is actually really great and it shows pride in our community," he said. "I find that to be just incredible."

With files from Lawrence Nayally

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