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Port Coquitlam brewery upset after 'disrespectful' customers let horses defecate near establishment

Northpaw Brew Co. says riders initially refused to clean up the waste and left; when they returned to "attempt to clean," they took out frustrations on staff.

Courtney Brown says horses have always been welcome at Northpaw Brew Co., but recent events have now led it to reconsider.

Earlier this month, the owners of the Port Coquitlam business had to pick up what was left of a smelly mess left behind by a pair of horses after their riders initially refused to clean it up after visiting the establishment.

During that 90-minute stay last Wednesday (July 21), Brown explains the horse owners appear to just let the animals poop on and off again in the parking lot.

"One staff member asked them to clean up the mess at which time they indicated they would do it later…. after we closed," said Brown, co-founder and business development director of Northpaw Brew Co., in an interview with the Tri-City News, noting the horses arrived after 6 p.m. that evening. The brewery normally closes at 9 p.m.

"The odour caused customers to comment and took away from their experience while enjoying their evening on the patio. After approximately 30-45 minutes, they came back into the brewery where another staff member asked again to clean it up. They refused and left."

In photos posted to Facebook, Northpaw shows the horses had pooped in a handicapped parking spot and along the sidewalk where outdoor dining is provided for patrons.

Brown says guests who were outside were dumbfounded after the riders left with their horses.

"Many expressed concerns and definitely had a problem with it. They could not believe that they would leave their horses for over an hour as they defecated. We have had horses in the past but the owners were very respectful and responsible."

Brown explains the individuals ultimately came back to "attempt to clean" the dung but while doing so with shovels, he says they threw it in the brewery's plants and shrubs.

When a staff member asked them to stop, Brown says they continued on after taking out frustrations.

"The individual was also very disrespectful calling a staff member a terrible name for requesting that she not shovel it into our shrubs. This is absolutely not acceptable nor is it tolerated here at Northpaw," he said. 

In the end, the owners had to remove what was left of the waste and used a power washer to get rid of four large stains on the concrete.

Northpaw is now wondering what to do moving forward when it comes to horse owners leaving their animals in the parking lot, Brown adds.

"[We] are now reconsidering if owners do not respect our property and patrons' comfort and experience while at the brewery. [...] Please understand and respect that the establishment and patrons deserve to enjoy their experience while at Northpaw and allowing your horses to urinate/defecate in front of paying patrons while they are eating and drinking is not acceptable."

In Port Coquitlam, there's a $150 fine in place for those who are caught not picking up animal excrement, which includes horses.

The city says in September, repeat bylaw offenders could face a fine of up to $1,000 and a potential court appearance.

Northpaw is one of two breweries close to the Traboulay PoCo Trail where horseback riders are allowed; Tinhouse Brewing Co. is one block south.

As horses continue to roam the trail, Brown hopes owners can take after their animals in the region for the sake of others.

"We get it, sometimes 'shit' happens," he said candidly.

"But own it and clean it up when asked not when it's convenient for you…. this is not your backyard it is our business so please respect that."

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