With the spring thaw, City of Winnipeg Animal Services is reminding pet owners of their responsibility to clean up after their pets.

Animal COO Leland Gordon said this time of year is when messes are often uncovered. He stressed that pet owners need to clean up after their dogs in any public area, including sidewalks, boulevards and dog parks.

In 2017, Animal Services received 283 complaints, leading them to issue 66 warnings and 21 tickets.

If ticketed, pet owners face a $400 fine for not picking up after their pets.

When paid early, that fine may be reduced to $200.

“Nobody likes dog poop. You don’t like stepping in it,” said Gordon.

“It’s bad for the grass: it can kill the grass.”

Dr. Corey Bartley, a veterinarian at Dakota Veterinary Hospital, told CTV News pet mess can also potentially hurt other dogs.

“Parasites and bacterial infections: because they can actually be quite tough and survive well in a range of conditions,” said Bartley.

“So when the snow starts to thaw they can be uncovered.”

Giving examples like roundworm and tapeworm, Bartley said the concern for dogs can extend to humans as well.

“Your dog is being exposed to them or you are being exposed to them: there is a risk that you can be infected.”

According to Animal Services, complaints can be directed through 311.

Those making the complaint are encouraged to get a photo or video if possible, and will need to make a statement upon making the complaint.