We all know George Jay is over crowded, we therefore need all of the space available to us. One field that the school faces is City of Victoria property, the other, adjacent to the school, is owned by SD61.
The sheer amount of feces left by dogs in both fields is becoming a health issue. Young students are running through the feces, and tracking it into our school. Sitting cross legged on our expensive to buy and clean carpets.
As you can understand, given the socioeconomic background of our students, we cannot possibly ask each family for a second pair of shoes for indoor use, free from excrement.
Part of the issue is simple: this is a bylaw almost impossible to enforce unless caught in the act. This, however, should not be the problem of our students. Their shoes should not be ruined, their classroom rugs and floors should not be exposed to this type of dirt. Students being exposed to feces is unacceptable, as it is disgusting.
I do have solutions to these unfortunate issues facing our school. First I contacted Victoria Animal Control, they were extremely helpful. They have an extra patrol board and will add George Jay to that.
Being winter, the days are shorter, and many people walk their dogs after work, so either they cannot find the excrement or were not aware their dog had defecated, or are plain lazy. Many of these cases also happen on the weekend when school is out.
The current $100 fines for being off leash and failing to remove excrement, I feel should be increased if the act is committed on a schoolground, where it is reasonable to expect many children using the field and coming into the building. The cost to clean our large floor rugs is extremely expensive. The cost of students becoming sick due to bacterial exposure via feces, is a much higher price.
We need some simple, clear and firm signage on both fields. Dogs must be leashed at all times, and perhaps a reminder that it is young children who are affected by their inability to keep track of their dog’s bowel movements.
This is an ongoing issue and almost impossible to police 100 per cent, I know, but we owe it to the students and staff of George Jay not to have to worry about the amount of dog feces in our school. This is a health issue we all need to acknowledge.