Something smells rotten in Rouge Hill

The scene today: a quiet suburban neighbourhood in Rouge Hill. Houses line the streets, blue recycling bins neatly waiting by the curb, lawns tidy and free of any toys or clutter.

But it isn’t always this way.

According to Lorne Mann, 67, a resident on Chapais Crescent, there has been an increase lately in garbage being left around the neighbourhood.

More specifically, Mann and other residents have noticed small dog poop bags left scattered throughout the neighbourhood. Mann refers to them as “torpedo bags” and said he’s seen them left at the side of the road, stuffed into bushes, and even on lawns. He has also seen pieces of garbage discarded around the community.

“I think it’s a sheer case of no regards for their community that they live in,” said Mann. “It’s a middle-class to higher-income area that we live in here, so they are pretty good and educated people that should know better.”

Mann said this problem has existed for some time now but it got worse as the cold weather set in this winter,  possibly because there are less people walking around in the neighbourhood to catch anyone in action not picking up their dog waste.

“The whole area is becoming sort of like a garbage bag for pets,” said Mann.

Peter Vanderyagt, executive assistant to Ward 44 councillor Ron Moeser, said this issue is a challenging one to deal with, partly because it’s hard to know exactly who the culprit is. Vanderyagt also said that though no one else, other than Mann, has come into Moeser’s office to voice concern on this issue, several local councillors do live in the area and are aware there is a problem.

“[Moeser] is very much aware — the ward is like his own backyard,” Vanderyagt said.

The problem is identifying the culprit, especially in terms of the dog waste, Vanderyagt said. Mann and his neighbours do think that it could be a single person responsible, as the bags are always the same: black in colour and left conspicuously along the curb or in bushes in the same way. Even if it is not the same individual causing the problem, Vanderyagt said it points to a greater issue.

“It’s a matter of public education,” Vanderyagt said. “People are scooping the poop and bagging it, but they’re only going halfway.”

The matter is one that could be investigated by Toronto Animal Services, as there is a bylaw that states that animal waste must be picked up by owners. However, legally, a person has to be caught in the act before animal services can take action.

Though, for small complaints, questions, or service requests residents can call Toronto’s new 311 phone line. Mann said that he reported addresses in his neighbourhood that had left garbage lying on their lawns, and the problem was taken care of the next day.

Despite the fact that Mann has seen some improvement in his neighbourhood, he still feels there is room for more changes to be made.

“The community is slowly deteriorating…and that’s a major problem right now,” said Mann.

The 311 line can be accessed via telephone, e-mail and fax, and more information can be found at