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Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Dog owners howling mad over poison

Pellets in park to kill rodents

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Little Mountain Park Dog Club president Kristy Greening puts up a warning sign for dog owners Tuesday.

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESSEnlarge Image

Little Mountain Park Dog Club president Kristy Greening puts up a warning sign for dog owners Tuesday. Photo Store

Local dog club members are outraged after a dog ate rodent poison in an off-leash area.

Members of the Little Mountain Park Dog Club (LMPDG) say poison was scattered on the ground in pellet form by workers hired by the city.

The city has since suspended the rodent-poisoning operation.

Little Mountain Park is in the extreme northwest of Winnipeg, just north of Inkster Boulevard.

The poison, intended for rodents who have been digging holes, had not been dropped in the holes nor buried with fresh soil, as per city policy.

Most of the holes are dug by Richardson ground squirrels, commonly called gophers.

As a result of a public outcry on Tuesday, the City of Winnipeg stated in an email that "gopher control operations have been suspended" and it is "reviewing operating procedures."

The dog owner, who did not want to be interviewed or identified, posted a message on Monday on local discussion forum Reddit warning dog owners her dog needed a $250 emergency treatment by a veterinarian on Sunday after the dog had eaten "almost a cup worth of the pellets."

"They've been laying poison in the field for a number of years and it's unacceptable. This is the off-leash space where we're supposed to be and it's not safe," said Kristy Greening, the LMPDC president.

She brought her three dogs to the park on Tuesday as she and fellow club member James Dooks posted homemade signs to warn park users about the rodent poison.

"The dog that ate the poison was on leash at the time and the poison was just lying in the field," Greening said. "The poison was supposed to go a certain distance into the ground. Obviously, that didn't happen. Somebody maybe got lazy with how they were laying it. We don't know what happened and we're waiting to hear back from the city."

The city declined to make anyone available to the Free Press for an interview but a spokeswoman wrote in an email that the poison pellets were applied to the area by "a professional pest control company" to eradicate gopher/Richardson ground squirrel infestations and that the treatment in various parks has been done for decades.

The poster indicated the product her dog ingested was a restricted-use rodenticide that is an anticoagulant that causes the rodent to die after prolonged internal bleeding. A small warning sign that was said to be at the park over the weekend near one of the parking lots was no longer there on Tuesday.

"The vet estimated the dog ate about a cup worth of the poison. It was a little 40-pound lab cross so I would think that would be enough to kill a dog of that size," Greening said. "It causes internal bleeding and it can be a slow and painful death. It's just a horrible way for any creature to die."

Dooks said there was no advance notice of the poison application and no proper warning signage.

"I saw one little eight-by-10 sign last Thursday, which is now gone, and it wasn't even really clear what it meant. It was written in kind of law wording," he said.

"We've never seen signs up telling us there's poison around here. And the holes are definitely not filled in."

The city's statement indicated the contracted pest control company was responsible for public notification.

"In regards to the incident at Little Mountain Park, following an investigation, we have determined there were deficiencies. The City is following up with the contractor and reviewing operating procedures. Gopher control operations have been suspended and City staff have been sent out to monitor parks where the contractor was working," the city's statement read.

Greening said she was told by city staff her concerns were passed on to the division manager of parks and open spaces but that it could take two days for him to get back to Greening because he is in meetings.

"We might be well into next week before we hear back from anyone with a very busy weekend this weekend (Father's Day on Sunday), so if that poison is still there it's not acceptable," Greening said. "Yes, there's holes and it's a bit of nuisance but it's not worth poisoning them. We want to know what are some other options."

Kelcy Beirnes said she uses Little Mountain Park with her three dogs at least three times per week and thought her dogs were safe there.

"What's wrong with the city that they go out into nature and try to destroy it? They're putting out poison that could kill your animal here in this dog park where dogs come to," Beirnes said.

Colleen Farnworth said the issue goes beyond dogs.

"My sister-in-law told me someone she knows was here with kids last weekend. If a dog can pick it up, a child certainly can," Farnworth said.

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Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 11, 2014 B4

HISTORY

Updated on Wednesday, June 11, 2014 at 10:52 AM CDT: Clarifies the dog was not seriously ill and adds links to Reddit.

Canstar Community News - ONLINE EDITION

Discussing Little Mountain Park

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Little Mountain Pet Owners Association members James Dooks and Kristy Greening enjoyed a March afternoon with their dogs at Little Mountain Park.

JORDAN THOMPSON

Little Mountain Pet Owners Association members James Dooks and Kristy Greening enjoyed a March afternoon with their dogs at Little Mountain Park. Photo Store

Local dog owners and other regular users of Little Mountain Park are invited to discuss ways to improve the park at a meeting set up by Coun. Brian Mayes (St. Vital).

The meeting is scheduled on Thurs., May 29 at 7 p.m. in the Sir William Stephenson Library (765 Keewatin St.).

Situated within the RM of Rosser, the 160-acre park is located on Farmer Avenue just off Route 90, and is owned by the City of Winnipeg. Mayes calls it "an orphan" as it’s not part of any Winnipeg ward.

In his role as chair of the Mayor’s Environment Advisory Council, Mayes realized that no other councillor was taking responsibility for the park, meaning it hasn’t been receiving funding through any councillor’s ward budget, so he decided to step in. Mayes said, from his point-of-view, the purpose of the meeting is to get budget ideas from the park’s users.

He used Maple Grove Park, an off-the-lease dog park in south St. Vital and within his ward, as an example of how the relationship between pet owners and the City normally works. Mayes said the park’s dog owners group has requested and received municipal grants for improvements in the past. However, Little Mountain Park users haven’t been able to follow the same process.

"There’s nowhere for them to go because there’s no ward councillor," Mayes said.

He said discussion at the meeting will be focused on project ideas, and isn’t a chance to do any long-term planning for Little Mountain Park, because the city has already conducted this type of exercise for all its parks.

One of Little Mountain Park Dog Club’s founders, Kristy Greening, welcomes the chance to meet with Mayes and talk about improvements.

"Without having a councillor, it’s been extremely tough dealing with the city, having to call 311," she said.

Lloyd Johnson has used the park for dog walking since the mid-1990s and maintains the Little Mountain Park Pet Owners Association’s website www.lmppoa.ca

His main goal is to ensure the park is protected from development.

"I guess my biggest hope is to protect our valuable green space. We have such precious little of it," he wrote in an email message.

CentrePort Canada vice-president of marketing and communications Riva Harrison said the organization was asked to provide a statement, to be presented at the meeting, confirming that CentrePort’s land use plan protects Little Mountain Park as green space.

"We support the park continuing to be protected as such," Harrison said. "We recognize that amenities like Little Mountain Park are important to the community."

The RM of Rosser was also invited to send a representative to the meeting.

Residents frustrated by state of park

Meghan Roberts on a park that’s outside of Winnipeg city limits, but is still owned by the city and residents upset with the condition of it.

http://winnipeg.ctvnews.ca/video?playlistId=1.1845897

Canstar Community News - ONLINE EDITION

Little Mountain Park more than a place for dogs

 

Kristy Greening, one of the Little Mountain Park Dog Club founders, enjoys a late winter’s afternoon at the park with her dogs Kaleah and Kobe.

JORDAN THOMPSON

Kristy Greening, one of the Little Mountain Park Dog Club founders, enjoys a late winter’s afternoon at the park with her dogs Kaleah and Kobe. Photo Store

There’s 160 acres of unspoiled, city-owned wooded land located within the 
Perimeter, but to say it’s a Winnipeg park isn’t quite right.

Sound confusing? It is, and many people still don’t know much about Little Mountain Park, which lies above Winnipeg’s northwest corner on Farmer Avenue, just off Route 90.
Founded as a civic park in 1965, the land once contained two operating limestone quarries, remnants of which can still be seen by visitors.

Part of the confusion arises from the fact that the park is owned by the City of Winnipeg, but lies outside its boundaries, within the RM of Rosser.

Winnipeg councillor Brian Mayes (St. Vital) calls the park "an orphan", but he could be said to be stepping in as its foster parent by making Little Mountain Park’s future the topic of an upcoming public meeting.

"I’m trying to get ideas about what it needs," Mayes said.

In his role as chair of the Mayor’s Environment Advisory Council, Mayes realized no other councillor was taking responsibility for the park. This means it hasn’t been receiving funding through any councillor’s ward budget.

However, that doesn’t mean the park’s been forgotten. In fact, it’s a favourite destination for dog owners and their pets who use the trails winding through aspen woods as a year-round recreational destination.

One of Little Mountain Park Dog Club’s founders, Kristy Greening, and her family, including two labs and a shepherd cross, live close to the park in the Garden Grove neighbourhood. She said they use it every day as an off-the-leash area.

"You can walk for miles with your dog," she said. "There are hundreds who use it every single day."

She said the trees provide shelter from winter’s cold winds.

While Little Mountain Sportsplex and The Players Course are recreational businesses located next to the park, Little Mountain Park itself just contains barbecue pits, picnic tables and washrooms that are open for part of the year.

Greening said the Dog Club was recently formed to provide a voice for the dog owners who want to preserve their off-the-leash space. They plan on attending the public meeting, which Mayes said will be held in late May.

Lloyd Johnson, who has used the park for dog walking since the mid-1990s, said he’ll try to get the word out about the public meeting through his Little Mountain Park Pet Owners association website at www.lmppoa.ca

Greening mentioned a rumour that CentrePort Canada might want to run a highway through or close to the park, and Johnson said a roadway is shown on maps put out by CentrePort.

Riva Harrison, CentrePort’s executive director of communications and marketing, said she was aware there is talk of a road being constructed to meet CentrePort Canada Way if Chief Peguis Trail is extended westward along Jefferson. However, at this time, there’s no truth to the rumour.

"Since day one, the park has been protected as green space on our land use plan," she said.

Mayes said the meeting’s date and location will be made public.

"We will have a report back to the mayor and get it into the budget," he said.


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