Parks Officials Turn To Public for Solutions to Dog Waste Problem at Irwin, Waveny


Saying an ongoing problem has gotten especially bad lately, parks officials are calling for public input to address how to get those who walk dogs at Irwin and Waveny Parks to pick up after their pets.

Sally Campbell, chairman of the Parks & Recreation Commission, said she’s received multiple complaints from residents and will put the matter at the volunteer group’s Feb. 14 meeting.

“This year has been really bad,” Campbell told

“What I would like to do is say, ‘What are the solutions?’ and talk about maybe just having dogs in one park or walking where they’re visible so people feel they have to pick up after them.”

Those with dogs at Waveny and Irwin either do not pick up after their dogs at all, or else pick up the waste and then discard the full bags off-trail or piled on a rock or something similar, Campbell said, which “is more unsightly.”

In the past, it’s been suggested that the town install more garbage receptacles deeper into trails where people are walking, so that they can dispose of the dog waste. However, Campbell said, “what happens is that you walk down and all the sudden there is a trash can full of people’s trash.”

“People, they won’t bring their trash to the dump or pay to have it picked up. They will go around and put it in bins and this is what will happen if we put bins out at other locations.”

Parks & Rec will meet at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 14 in the Douglass Room at Lapham Community Center.

12 thoughts on “Parks Officials Turn To Public for Solutions to Dog Waste Problem at Irwin, Waveny

  1. As a resident who walks their dogs there frequently, and is willing to carry poop for long distances, I do think the problem is that there are not enough receptacles to dispose of it especially back in the woods. Since trash disposal seems to be a problem if regular receptacles are installed, how about simply putting dog waste stations back there instead? These would be too small for people to put household trash in. Irwin Park is a perfect dog park for us because it’s not too big and it’s not too crowded. We much prefer it to Waveny for this purpose and would hate to lose it as our main walking spot.

    • how about collecting on the footwear of adults and children who are walking in the parks … and then gets dragged into cars and homes?

    • Yes, it most certainly does. In the last hour, I watched as 2 owners, with four dogs between them, let their dogs go along South Avenue, on other people’s lawns. They’ll be back again doing the same thing, later today. It’s a severe problem.

      The EPA classifies dog feces as a toxic waste. Dog poop is not just a gross and unsightly mess — it’s an environmental pollutant and a human health hazard. When left on the ground, waste eventually breaks down and washes into the water supply, polluting our rivers, streams, creeks and other local waterways.

  2. Let us remember that the problem is not a trash receptacle one, or a dog one, IT IS A DOG OWNER ONE! They are like cigarette smokers who just throw the butts down then the are finished.
    There is a perfectly good dog socialization park in New Canaan for all (60+% are non-residents) to use. Let’s ban all dogs from the main parts of Waveny and Irwin parks and limit dogs to the dog park.
    If some dog owners can’t behave, then all dog owners need to pay the price until THEY eliminate the problem.

    • Sounds good. I am willing to go armed into the parks when we walk to police my fellow dog owners who fail to police their pets.

  3. It’s not like bins were always available, so I question how much difference more bins would make (although it certainly would be more convenient). My question is, why the huge difference? Why has it gotten SO much worse this year compared to years past? Irwin isn’t BRAND new. The park has been around a few years. I was one of its early visitors. There used to be a stray poop pile here or there on the path, but NOTHING as bad as it has become in the last 1-2 years. So what accounts for the change for the worse?? Just more traffic? Or is there some other root cause??

  4. Isn’t this matter an issue of honor, private responsibility for the public good. Think of it as leaving a cleaner, smaller footprint behind. We are so fortunate to have the parks we do have for the use of adults, children and pets. If there is a problem then it is most assuredly a people problem not a dog problem. I never expected to spend my time picking up after my dogs but I do it because I want us to have the freedom of walking in the parks and I am not too proud to be seen walking with a poop bag or two. It would be a great help to have more receptacles for the waste bags but not if thoughtless people use them selfishly for their own trash disposal system. I would also ask that those of all ages who ride their bikes on these same paths that when they are coming up behind anyone to PLEASE, ring a bell, toot a horn, make some noise to let those of us walking with or without pets know you are behind us and not run us down. Remember we are trying to both enjoy our walk and control our dogs to keep them from tripping up others kindly give us that same consideration.

  5. Perhaps you could put more bag stands around with signs to pls use them. I have watched mostly older people leave the poop and show no remorse at all. Perhaps a couple more garbage cans would be good. It would be a shame to have this wonderful place to walk our dogs taken away because of inconsiderate dog owners.

  6. A capitalism model solution would be to create an about a reward for the first person to turn in identifiable photos of fellow citizens caught in the act of not cleaning up after their pups? Everyone carries cell phones/cameras with them so a $50 reward based on a photo that can generate a $200 fine would be a win-win.

    • Great idea. May I suggest photographers stand at the corner of South Avenue and Woodland Road and take photos. You’ll have a dozen or more in just a few hours. That’s a potential $600 in your pocket, and a realistic $2000+ in fines.

  7. Here is another Dog-license approach:
    “property management companies across the country have started to use mandatory dog DNA testing in an attempt to keep their grass poop-free,” ” Here’s how it works…: Upon moving in, dog owners get a swab kit from the property management company, take a sample from their pet and turn it in. The company puts it in a bottle and sends it to a Florida-based company – called Mr. Dog Poop – which creates a canine registry for the complex”
    “Almost 11 million tons of dog waste are produced each year in the U.S. – that’s more than humans produced in 1959, according to EnviroWagg, a Colorado-based composting initiative. Dog waste can kill plants and spread germs that cause health risks including fever and diarrhea, according to BioPet Vet lab in Knoxville, which tests DNA for PooPrints.
    The problem “is truly tearing apart communities,” wrote BioPet’s president, Jim Simpson, in a 2011 article for the Chesapeake-based magazine National Association of Residential Property Managers..

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