dog poop bag in a tree beside a trail

Don’t leave it hanging

Our trees are spectacular organisms. They make oxygen, can live to be quite old, have beautiful foliage, provide homes and food for countless wildlife, and through transpiration of water through their leaves, can even influence the weather.

Maybe our trees do deserve some form of decoration or recognition?

I was out in my park the other day, and with the leaves gone, I did notice some brightly coloured decorations on a tree down the trail.

Was someone decorating a live tree for some reason?

Maybe celebrating its awesomeness?

I was still far away, so as I approached these dangling objects, I had time to think about what they might be. The uncertainty was killing me, so I lifted my binoculars to see.

man looking through binoculars

I was way off, to say the least.

On this stately White Pine hung several bags of dog poop.

Answering nature’s call with your pup

Going camping with your dog or coming to a park for a day hike with your four-legged friend can be a lot of fun for you, and the dog loves it! So many new places to go and explore, all the smell-treats that dogs get curious about, maybe meeting new friends on the trail – these are all rich experiences.

woman with dog

Eventually, you and your dog will have to answer nature’s call.

You will hopefully use one of the toilets or privies provided, and your dog will use the ground.

Like at home, you should pick up the droppings and dispose of them. You might use a small bag, to stoop and scoop. Then you would carry the bag and drop it in the appropriate waste receptacle.

But I was going to come back for it!

I get it: you may have just started your walk, the dog “goes,” you pick it up, and leave it hanging in a tree with the intention of picking up on your way back.

dog poop bag in a tree beside a trail

I am willing to guess that lots of people do this; who wants to carry a bag of poop on a 3 km hike?

But garbage is your responsibility and you must carry it out with you. You wouldn’t leave a food wrapper or empty water bottle on the trail, with intentions of picking it up later, would you?

What kind of example are you setting?

People come to our parks to enjoy nature.

Woman crossing a boardwalk with a dog

By leaving these items hanging in a tree, it says to other users that your laziness or lack of care is more important than protecting this place for the enjoyment of Ontarians.

You may even tempt others to leave their poop bags alongside yours.

The dangling bags are litter, regardless of your intentions

A plastic bag left in the environment does not decompose; it just breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces, which — as we all know by now — is not good for the environment or us.

Keep in mind that not properly disposing of domestic animal waste can land you a hefty fine.

We all share stewardship of our province’s natural spaces

Our parks and trees are amazing, and they should be celebrated, but NOT with doo-doo ornaments.

Want to help us get the word out?

Share this post with friends and family who explore parks with their four-legged friends!