Urine big trouble in Saskatoon - Macleans.ca

Urine big trouble in Saskatoon

City staff presented a report on the vexing issue of whether it would be possible to fine the owners of pets caught peeing on private property.



On Saskatoon’s city council agenda on June 28: potholes, sewers, the operating budget—and dog pee. City staff presented a report on the vexing issue of whether it would be possible to fine the owners of pets caught peeing on private property.

After noticing an increase in the number of calls about telltale yellow patches on grass, councillor Bev Dubois asked staff in September to report back on the feasibility of an anti-pee bylaw. Dubois estimates she’s received more than two dozen calls about errant pee during her three terms in office. “Summer is short here,” says Dubois. “People like to enjoy their yards, their trees and their flowers without having to deal with [urine].” She says at least one family suspected a neighbour of encouraging their dog to lift a vengeful leg on their lawn “on purpose.”

Dubois reasoned that if human urination was successfully banned in 2004, surely they could outlaw pet urine, too. But the human urination bylaw is enforced by police who catch people with their pants down, the report noted. There aren’t enough animal control officers to reassign to pee patrol, so proving the crime would be difficult, the report said. “It is not clear whether testimony that a dog lifted a leg or squatted would be sufficient to prove the offence if urine marks in snow or dirt were not evident,” wrote staff. Considering the difficult legal tests involved, city council decided a bylaw is a bad idea. Councillor Gord Wyant later called the debate “embarrassing,” reported the Star Phoenix newspaper.

While she accepts the decision, Dubois is not embarrassed about asking for the report. “It’s not for me to personally decide what I take to council,” she says. “[A law would be] difficult to enforce, but now I know that and all the citizens of Saskatoon know that.”

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Urine big trouble in Saskatoon

  1. Bev Dubois should be ashamed of herself for wasting my taxpayer dollars even looking at this issue. Anyone who owns a dog knows if they decide to pee, they pee. An owner has no control over this so it is completely unenforcable. Stupid waste of time.

  2. Slow day around the municipal council table?
    What's next…the pee cops!

  3. Pet owners who allow their dogs and cats to pee/poo all over the place should be fined. While it's fine to take the animal for a walk, let them do their business in your own backyard instead of polluting everyone elses space. I for one am disgusted by poop all over the sidewalk, and in winter seeing yellow snow on my walks. Not to mention those same irreponsible pet owners who allow their animals to destroy park settings and school yards. I seen a homemade sign the other day "This school yard is for children only, NO DOGS ALLOWED". Please have some respect for the rest of the community and take care of your animals' dirty messes.

  4. Saskatoon Bylaw No. 7860 already mandates that owners must remove their dog's (or cat's) defecation from public or private property immediately. That is already punishable by a fine. So the debate is not about defecation but urination.

    As a dog owner, I do not let my dog urinate (or defecate) on private property (without banning dogs outright, it would be implausible to ban urination on public property). I encourage all other pet owners to do the same. I'd be irate with someone letting their dog come onto my lawn to do their business.

    If you see someone letting their dog use your property as a toilet, just go out and let them know (as calmly as you can) that you'd appreciate it if they had their dog go elsewhere. Dog people – unlike those cat people ;) – are friendly, they'll nod, and say thanks, and move along.

  5. I know how destructive dogs can be to a beautifully landscaped yard. So I sympathize. I think that Mr. Wyant is merely reflecting the attitude that the majority of people don't think this is a major issue and that it is a humourous waste of resources to be debating it. I don't personally feel that way, but I can see how others might (including this Macleans article, which I feel is a bit tongue-in-cheek). Most people will find it odd or disturbing that you are prepared to setup an elaborate security system to video tape this type of activity.

    In any case, it seems that City Council and the City Administration has dropped the issue. It's unlikely to come up again for many years. You may have to find an alternate solution.

    If you are having problems of property damage in your front yard, you could do what good neighbours have done for centuries: build a fence.

  6. If you can tangibly demonstrate the damage to your property, you could push to have the perpetrators charged with vandalism. Failing that, you could simply take the perpetrators to small claims court. There are probably other options too. An explicit bylaw about the issue is just one.

    You may have an expectation that you shouldn't have to take these steps, but clearly the policy makers (elected and unelected) have thus far been unconvinced by your argument.

    If you feel strongly enough about the matter (which I think your comments demonstrate) you should pursue all courses of action. Taking people to small claims court could generate further media coverage and provide you with a forum to lay out the facts of your situation.

    It would take time and effort. It would be stressful (I have experienced first hand the tribulation of seeking legal remedy – it's not fun, but it is rewarding when you win). But it might be possible to move public opinion, and reopen debate at City Hall.

    On the other hand, a little white picket fence, even just two-feet high, would look pretty nice too.

    All the Best,


  7. That's ridiculous. You even said "most dogs have the ability to hold it…", so what about those who can't? Fine the owners? Fine owners while they're in the process of training middle aged dogs that they suddenly can't pee on the law? It's bad enough to keep dogs indoors all day and punish them when they have to use the washroom indoors, but now we're going to yell at them and confuse them by limiting outside as well? Totally unfair. What about people who live in residential areas without parks nearby, where would their dogs pee?

    Grass is for animals. Humans have no use for grass, unlike animals, and meanwhile tons of people want to prevent animals from using it. You want to talk about the damage of dog pee? How about the damage of pesticides and chemicals used to "enhance" your lawn for your own superficial purposes?

    • The only ridiculous comment here is yours. 'Most dogs' refers to dogs that are healthy, and not having just undergone a trauma (like being hit by a car). That was the way my local animal protection officer explained it to me. Even my neighbour's teeny chihuahua has been trained to go on command, and they have never allowed their dog to go on anyone's property.

      Even though, if as you say, someone is in the process of training their dog… here's a thought… have them go in your own back yard before you take them for that walk. I mean, since you think grass is made for animals to use as a toilet, you shouldn't mind them using YOUR OWN lawn as a toilet, instead of your neighbour's. See my neighbour has a sign up that tells everyone they don't want dogs going on THEIR lawn, but then they walk their dog over to mine and let it go on mine.

      And you know what Christina? Your final point is just plain stupid. Basically, you're trying to make a point that one wrong equals another.I don't use pesticides. I dig my dandelions by hand, and reuse my clippings in my garden, feed my plants with old coffee grounds and leftover coffee and tea. I don't harm you or your yard, so why is it ok for you or your dog to harm mine? What you're doing is called 'justifying'. You're trying to come up with any reason, lame or not, to justify something that just isn't justifiable rather than change a bad behaviour. Your stand is inconsiderate of others. Period.

  8. I think the "master" is a boorish pet owner without a lick of sense of decency if they develop the facist methods of having their dogs pee on command…

    • I thought at first you were a serious commenter, but this comment proves otherwise. I suppose then, that parents are fascists for training their toddlers to be able to use a toilet instead of having to pee anywhere and anytime their body wants to? I certainly hope you wear diapers then, because unless your parents allowed you to grow up with your body simply having to pee whenever and wherever it is, your parents are boorish fascists.


  9. This whole discussion is ridiculous. What kind of an image does it give Saskatoon when something as trivial as this makes national news? I was mortified to see our city represented in such a manner. How backwards can we appear? There is a fine for deficating which should be enforced .Urinating a little harder to deal with. Just quit planting on the property right beside the sidewalk ( which is city property by the way) I agree , put up a fence if it bothers you so much. Most of al,l get excited about something serious like the kids in our city who are hungry, the gangs, the need for more bridges. How petty and small minded can you be?????

    • So because *you* are unable to manage concerns for larger and smaller issues at the same time, others are ridiculous? In fact, larger cities than Saskatoon are dealing with this issue, so by choosing not to deal with it, Saskatoon comes off as the opposite of what you suggest. I've noticed in my travels, that by and large… those who make a fuss about what a 'ridiculous' issue it is and how we are 'wasting time and resources' dealing with it or even talking about it, are often the same people who are out there as the guilty parties who think nothing of allowing their dogs to use others' yards as a toilet. In a sense, by shouting loudly about how the rest of us are ridiculous, they simply show their nature as being boorish bullies who have no manners or regard for other people's property or feelings.

      Case in point? A person close to me was threatened by a neighbour they'd politely asked not to allow their dog to use their yard as a toilet. Why should they not have at least a bylaw they can turn to? If their neighbour makes good on the threat, will it then be not ridiculous? Or should they pay their taxes to the city but just shut up and watch their boorish neighbour continue to drag their dog over to their yard to urinate and defecate? Explain to me why this is ok with you. Explain to me why asking for help when some citizens make it clear that they don't intend to respect their neighbours, is ridiculous?

      If you've never been on the receiving end of a situation like that, maybe you should think before you comment.

      So, sorry dear, but a bylaw that tells people they have to be decent to their neighbours isn't going to affect whether or not a new bridge gets built, nor does it mean that the hungry won't get fed… nor will it result in gangs running rampant. If you really think so, you flunked something, somewhere along the way.

      • I have to laugh at the 'are you kidding' comment. They suggest you stop planting on the property beside the sidewalk. I guess they haven't been to a pet store, or a WalMart in the last several years to know that many pet owners now buy and use those annoying retractable leashes that allow their dog to run ahead for many feet, all the way up a person's property in some cases. Perhaps they're a shut in and haven't ever even watched people out with their dogs to see that for themselves? Perhaps they think the dogs are smart enough to know immediately to stop the retractable leash from allowing them to go any farther than the city boulevard allowance? Perhaps they live in a fairy tale land where dog owners carry measuring tapes and make sure their pets aren't encroaching upon the owner's property? I'm not sure. If so, it would be nice if they'd let us know where that fairy tale land is so we can all buy some property there before the prices skyrocket.

        At any rate, why these people all think the non-dog owner should be the one responsible for the cost of a fence to prevent something that should be a common courtesy observed by dog owners (but isn't), I don't know. If 'are you kidding' was really sincere about how we should be worrying about feeding the hungry (etc) surely some basic math would show them how if dog owners would respect others' property more, less fences would have to be built and that money could be better utilized donating to the kinds of causes they 'get excited' about. Their logic makes no sense.

        In other words, all they're doing here, is trying to come off as superior by flaunting nobler 'causes' than yours in an attempt to make you feel stupid for caring about this issue.

        I agree with what you wrote. I bet they have a dog. I bet they've let their dog go on someone else's yard.

  10. Although you probably don't read these,the potholes on saskatoon streets are already a major concern for motorists.The city should make this a priority never mind dog urine. Home owners pay taxes and every year our streets don't change. What are you doing with the money from the taxes. Probably lining someones pocket. Enough, fix the sreets like the money is suppose to go for or else you need to be liable to fix the vehicles damaged from the pot holes.