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Schoolyard poop could lead to West End dog ban

06/20/2013 10:47 EDT | Updated 08/20/2013 05:12 EDT
Dogs could soon be banned from the grounds of one Vancouver elementary school after parents complained about their children coming home smeared with dog feces.

Parents are raising a stink at Lord Roberts Elementary in Vancouver's West End, where signs advertising the Vancouver School Board's "Dog Code" went up last March.

Soon after, the school's parent advisory council registered their concerns publicly by going to the media. The Lord Roberts PAC said that as soon as the signs went up, more dog owners showed up — and more poop starting being left behind.

Under the VSB's policy, accompanied canines are allowed on school grounds on weekends and on school days from 6 to 8 a.m. and after five o'clock until 10 p.m., unless the fields are being used for organized sports games. The policy also states that the dog handlers must pick up and remove the animals' waste.

Sonja Dueck, with the Lord Roberts PAC, said the rules just aren't being followed.

"We're finding dog owners are abusing the policy here, and it's causing major issues with dog feces on our children," she told CBC News.

- Read More: Dog park designation for schoolyard upsets parents

Shanna Dunn, with the Lord Roberts PAC, says that beyond being disgusting, the mess is an actual health concern.

"It's getting tracked in to the inside of our building. There is a risk of parasitic worms, salmonella, E. coli. We want to protect our children," she said.

The PAC went to the school board with its concerns, and pushed for a ban to make the school ground a dog-free zone.

Patti Bacchus, VSB chair, said next month the board may go ahead and approve a six-month ban on all dogs, with the exception of guide dogs, from the Lord Roberts school property.

"In this case, because it has been such an issue in the West End, we will be very clear that the board is banning dogs from that property."

But nearby sister school Lord Roberts Annex, a kindergarten to Grade 3 school, is also having problems with dog waste cleanup even though it is just steps away from a dog park.

The Vancouver School Board says it's not going to go as far as the District of North Vancouver has gone, banning dogs from all school properties during after-school hours, but will continue to address the issue on a case-by-case basis.

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