Removed dog waste trash cans at dog parks causing commotion

Published: May. 1, 2018 at 9:46 PM CDT
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About two weeks after the city's Parks and Recreation department removed trash cans around dog parks, some people are finding it to be a nuisance at the parks.

The city's two parks, Hanscom and Hefflinger, are used daily by dogs and humans alike. For many, it's a way for both to unwind after a long day.

About two weeks ago, dog owners noticed the cans at the parks disappeared. Instead, they were greeted with a sign from the city stating dog waste needed to be thrown away at a dumpster in the parking lot.

"For me to have to walk back to the top of the hill, the steep hill, to dispose of the waste or kind of carry it around with you the whole time you’re here, neither of those are really appealing options," dog owner Brian McCormack said.

At Hefflinger Park, the dumpster is easy to get to, but at Hanscom Park, the dumpster requires people to walk away from the fenced in park area, which is where some of the frustration comes. Many owners don't want to leave their dog alone.

"I picked up my dog's poop, but it's 10 feet away until I have to leave the dog park and then I'll take it up to the trash can. It is an annoyance," dog owner Michaela Gabaldon said.

Some people attempted to protest the changes, tying filled dog bags to the fence, but Gabaldon said that was short lived.

The city's Parks and Recreation director Brook Bench said the lack of trash cans is temporary, at least at Hefflinger Park, but what the city is trying to do is make it easier for city maintenance crews to empty the trash cans.

"we'll be able to dump the cans faster and more often then what they are right now. We're trying to alleviate the pain of what it is we have in the maintenance department," Bench said.

As it sat before, emptying the cans became a hassle, especially after it rained, so the city is hoping this will alleviate some of the stresses for crews coming to clean up.

However, with the dumpster so far away now, some dog park goers have noticed an increased amount of dog feces left on the ground.

"If they can’t just dispose of it right away, they kind of just look the other way with their dog goes number two," McCormack said.

The extra dog poop on the grounds make some worry more people won't use the dog parks in the future.

"It's not the end of the world, but I think it definitely creates more of a lack of cleanliness at the park now because now there's just a lot more waste around kind of where you're walking," Gabaldon said.

Bench said they will put a dumpster on each of the park to make it easier for patrons to dispose of their dog's waste.

The Omaha Dog Parks Advocates did post a message on their Facebook page to notify dog park goers of the changes.

The city expects the dumpsters to be set up within the next week, weather permitting.