Deborah Wytinck, who raises sheep on her pasture at Boxwood Road and Fern Road, is trying to get dog owners to stop throwing plastic bags containing their dogs’ poop over her fence. Parasites in dog feces that make their way into the grass could infect the sheep and sicken the animals. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)

Vancouver Island sheep farmer voices fears over flung dog feces

Deborah Wytinck worries parasites in dog feces tossed into pasture could infect her sheep

Dog feces flung over her fence has raised the ire of a Nanaimo sheep farmer.

Deborah Wytinck and her husband Don have raised sheep at their farm, located on the end of Fern Road, Boxwood Road and Lang Crescent, for several decades, but as development has encroached around their property, so has the presence of bags of dog poop tossed over the Wytincks’ fence and into their pasture where they graze their sheep.

“We’re right in the middle, surrounded now by houses and, of course, we have one of these silly little pocket parks, which everybody walks their dog to [defecate] it in,” Wytinck said. “Some of them actually pick it up, but then they throw the ruddy bags into our sheep pasture.”

Many of the dog poop bags tossed in the pasture wind up dangling from the branches of hawthorne bushes and small trees on the edge of the property. But others find their way to the ground and Wytinck said wet ground in late winter and early spring is a good environment for worms or other parasites to transfer into the grass and into sheeps’ digestive systems when the animals graze.

“As a consequence, we … put the bags back in the road, with great apologies to my neighbour because she might be the only one who sees them because everybody else, most likely, just drives straight over them,” Wytinck said.

Wytinck put a notice on her fence to educate dog owners and ask them to not dispose of their dogs’ business in her backyard. The Wytincks’ sheep are raised primarily for their wool and as breeding stock, but are also suitable for human consumption.

“They don’t know, perhaps, that their dogs’ worms pass through the pasture and into the livestock … and the meat can be condemned and it’s a health issue, but it’s in the whole vein of where we are with this coronavirus and viruses – people’s basic lack of understanding their health picture,” Wytinck said.

Wytinck, who was an operating room nurse at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital for more than 30 years, grew up in an area of England where her family raised sheep and she and her husband have continued to raise sheep on their property in Nanaimo since the late 1970s.

Nanaimo veterinarian Ken Langelier said he would defer commenting on large animal parasite issues to others with that sort of expertise.

“The only thing I could say on the situation is there should be proper disposal of all feces because of parasites, bacteria and everything else,” Langelier said. “It’s not a good thing for a neighbour to do.”

TODAY’S MOST-READ: B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why



photos@nanaimobulletin.com
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