This article is one that I wrote nearly two years ago about ‘greening’ the Richmond Animal Shelter. Since Spring will be coming up fast, I thought I’d put it on my blog to help people deal with their pet’s waste this season.
See original article in the Richmond News.
I was recently inspired by the Vancouver compost demonstration garden (see http://youtu.be/sud1JgBSc1Y) to install dog waste composters at the Richmond Animal Shelter.
Metro Vancouver recommends this composting method to dispose of canine waste so that it does not end up in our soon-to-close landfill in Delta. As you can imagine the 20 or so dogs at the Richmond Animal Shelter produce a lot of waste, so a few weekends ago, I gathered three old flat bottom trash cans, a shovel, some clippers and called BC One Call to find out where it was safe to dig to install the composters.
Once I got the OK from local utilities, I dug three large holes, cut off the bottom of each trash can, and inserted the cans as lining into the holes. A dog waste composter consists of placing the dog waste into a lined hole in the ground (with a cover) and regularly adding Septonic, a biodegradable septic system activator, along with some water and a few dry leaves or grass.
After a couple of weeks, during which I kept track of the waste being put in, the shelter composters were working perfectly. There was no smell from the dog waste because the Septonic breaks down the molecules that cause the smell.
The remaining material from a dog waste composter can’t be used on vegetable gardens because of the risk of bacterial contamination. (Note that it is safe to use on shrubs and flower beds.) However, at the Richmond Animal Shelter, we have an abundance of rabbit waste that is excellent on vegetable gardens, in orchards or in planters.
The cages of 40 rabbits at the shelter produce a lot of waste that is ideal for gardens, and rather than put it in the trash, RAPS has begun a program to distribute rabbit waste to local gardeners.
Simply bring a box or bin to the shelter to pick up the rabbit waste between 4 and 5 p.m. any day of the week. It’s free, it’s fantastic for your garden and you’ll be helping to keep organic waste out of our landfill.
There are even more eco-projects on the horizon for the shelter. On Saturday, June 20 (2009!), RAPS is holding an Animal Shelter Clean-Up Day and Volunteer BBQ to get the shelter ready for summer renovation projects.
Families, groups and individuals can participate in the Clean-up Day. Call RAPS at 604-275-2036 or see http://www.rapsociety.com to sign up.