Archie (center), Ella (left) and Arrow (right) enjoy the dog-friendly Field 2 in Melvin Park on April 26, 2020. The field, Dimond Park, and the grassy area on top of Gold Street are all closed to dogs indefinitely due to a rising amount of unremoved dog poop. (Ben Hohenstatt | Juneau Empire)

Archie (center), Ella (left) and Arrow (right) enjoy the dog-friendly Field 2 in Melvin Park on April 26, 2020. The field, Dimond Park, and the grassy area on top of Gold Street are all closed to dogs indefinitely due to a rising amount of unremoved dog poop. (Ben Hohenstatt | Juneau Empire)

Poop piles pose problem for parks

Three areas are closed, and more may follow if behavior does not improve.

The City and Borough of Juneau is closing several areas to canine visitors due to excessive dog poop.

The closures are to maintain health and safety standards, according to a CBJ news release.

“We’re not out here to clean up after your dog,” said CBJ parks maintenance crew leader Kevin Mitchell in a phone interview. “As far as I know, the plan is to do this temporarily to send the message that this is gross, and we can’t have it in public places.”

Dimond Park, Field 2 in Melvin Park and the area of land at the top of Gold Street adjacent to the parking lot will all be closed temporarily, according to CBJ. More areas may be closed if the issue continues.

Mitchell said the closures are not the result of COVID-19-related strain on city personnel.

Face coverings now required on buses, in city facilities

“We’re a little shorthanded, but we don’t normally pick up the poop anyway,” Mitchell said.

City employees are sick of getting dog poop on themselves while doing their work, Mitchell said. Many parks do seem to have more dog poop than usual, he said, but he was unsure why that might be.

However, COVID-19 has many spending more time at home with fewer places than usual to go, and that may factor into it.

“The parks were the one thing that really just never closed,” Mitchell said.

Dog poop doesn’t biodegrade like wild animal poop, according to CBJ. It smells awful, has harmful bacteria and pollutes groundwater.

Bags are provided at many trailheads and parks, Mitchell said, though those bags are meant to augment owners bringing their own bags, not replace them entirely.

• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757.621.1197 or mlockett@juneauempire.com.

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