‘No one’s coming back to pick them up’: Saanich woman creates map of abandoned dog poo bag sightings

'No one's coming back to pick them up': Saanich woman creates map of abandoned dog poo bag sightings

Karen Fediuk goes for a walk in her neighbourhood every day, on the lookout for fungi, plants and flowers to photograph.

Too often, however, Fediuk stumbles upon a sight she’d rather not see: abandoned dog poop bags.

“Oh, I see 50 to 100 [every day], I mean, they’re just lying in wait,” she said.

It seems some people are picking up after their pets, then chucking the bag into the woods or off the side of the road, Fediuk explained. The abandoned bags she sees aren’t always new either.

“They’re there permanently,” she said. “No one’s coming back to pick them up.”

Fediuk sees so many of the dog poo bags on a regular basis that she decided to start recording her sightings in June last year.

She created an online, digital map, called ‘Poo bags encountered in Saanich’ — but some simply call it the ‘crap map.’

“I thought that if I don’t take photos of this, it’ll be harder for me to educate others or really share with others what the true impact is of what’s happening,” she explained.

Each icon on the map represents an area with a poo bag sighting. If you click one, it will show you a picture of the bag and where it’s located. Nearly a year later, there are already more than 80 markers, some with multiple photos.

“Maps are a really great tool. I think people get into them. They like them and I think that it [goes] beyond just seeing a photo,” Fediuk noted. “Because of the geotagging, it allows everyone to know where these things are happening.”

Most of the pictures on the map are from Fediuk’s Cordova Bay neighbourhood, as she is staying close to home because of the pandemic. But poop bags have no boundaries.

Caroline Preston is a volunteer for Saanich Parks and works on cleaning up invasive species like ivy and blackberry. She comes across abandoned dog poo bags on a regular basis while volunteering once a week at the Bruce Hutchison Park.

“As you go into the bushes and start clearing, you’ll find them hung up on the shrubs, some of them lying on the ground,” Preston said. “Some of them quite old, but that plastic — it doesn’t decompose much, they just sit there.”

READ MORE: Doggy ‘Doo’ or Don’t: Saanich scraps dog waste bags from local parks

Preston said the number of bags they see in the Bruce Hutchison Park has decreased over the years, but she still sees them in other parks she visits.

“I’ve been in other parks where it’s literally like a Christmas tree,” she said. “For some reason, people pick one shrub and they just festoon it with all these bags. I don’t get it…Why go to all that effort of buying them, carrying them around, filling them and then not taking them away?”

Dog owners like Marie Graf think it stinks too.

“We’re responsible for our animals, just like we are our children,” she said. “So if they poop, just like children, we’re responsible to clean it up.”

It’s not like we would leave diapers around, Graf added.

Under Saanich bylaws, dog owners who don’t pick up after their pets can be fined 100 dollars or more.

Fediuk is hoping her map will highlight the issue and flush out the situation.

Jasmine BalaJasmine Bala

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