Saanich pooches can no longer play on community sport courts after a petition highlighted persistent poo problems.
New signage is up at tennis courts in five parks – Reynolds, Tolmie, Hyacinth, Beckwith and Rutledge – warning users that dogs are not allowed in. District staff say signs will soon be up at all public courts.
The ban comes after Saanich received complaints from residents concerned about safety issues that arise when dogs relieve themselves on the courts.
Resident and tennis enthusiast Hamid Tohidi started a 20-signature petition in October 2020 calling for Saanich to prevent owners from allowing pets to roam the courts.
A court-user in Saanich and Victoria since 2007, he said local tennis players have been dealing with the excrement issue for much longer. It’s been a recurring problem that has gotten much worse lately, Tohidi said.
People bring their dogs to the enclosed courts so that they can sit on the benches while their pets run off-leash, he explained.
He’s tried speaking with dog owners to explain that even traces of poop left behind pose health risks. While some were understanding, he said others became hostile or simply ignored him.
Mayor Fred Haynes said it is a “real community concern,” and while the district understands dog owners want to get outside with their pets, people also deserve to use the sport courts for their intended use. “We have lots of parks for the dogs to run.”
He added that he appreciates when residents highlight community concerns because solutions are often straightforward. “The result is, as we see, a really positive outcome,” Haynes said.
Tohidi is “thankful that (the signs) went up so quickly” because it showed Saanich will act quickly to resolve community concerns. He hopes the rule will be respected.
The petition has also been submitted to the City of Victoria to call for similar action there.