Pet waste risks, laws and misconceptions

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Originally written Feb. 2008, reposted June 2013

Pet waste is an environmental hazard

It is a warm spring day and you decide to indulge yourself by taking a walk barefoot in the grass. As you stroll along you feel like your in “heaven” and then you step in a pile of dog feces. Ugh crap!

The problem with dog waste goes well beyond the inconvenience of having to remove the waste from the bottom of your foot or shoe. Your pet could step in it, eat it or roll in it. But what most owners don’t realize is it could be hazardous to the environment!

Pet feces health risks

A single gram of pet waste can contain over 23 MILLION bacteria andPick up after your pet can include parasites, viruses, and diseases that can be spread to pets and humans simply by coming in contact with it!

Even if you are lucky enough to avoid the “land mines” left by our furry friends, you could still be at risk. Dog or cat poop left in our environment stands the chance of contaminating our local water source. Yes, the same water you drink, shower with and use when cooking.

Some of the possibilities that contribute to water contamination are:

1) Your dog goes poop at the dog beach.
2) The pet feces you left behind comes in contact with large amounts of water (i.e. rain, sprinklers or from a garden hose) and gets washed down into our storm drains.

FACT: The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 2-3 days worth of feces from 100 dogs would contribute enough bacteria to temporarily close a bay and areas within 20 miles of it. This became a reality in 200 when San Diego dog beach was closed to surfers and swimmers 125 times.

Why do some pet owners refuse to clean up dog poop?

There are many common “beliefs” or misconceptions that people have which contribute to lack of pet waste removal:

1) Fertilizer: Some people assume that since cow manure is used as a fertilizer that dog waste can be used in the same way. This is simply untrue! Cows eat from the earth, our dogs do not.

2) Out of sight out of mind: Some feel walking trails, bushes and the woods are nature’s toilet. Pet waste attracts fleas and other insects which adds another source for which disease can be transmitted.

3) It’s not their job: Some believe that they don’t need to carry Dog Waste Bags because that is what the maintenance workers get paid to do. I’m sure they would disagree. You might find that you have a higher bill or that they have refused to care for your lawn until you clean up after your pet(s).

You could get fined for not picking up dog poop

If the above has not been enough to change your mind, would an empty wallet? Around the world, many communities have laws specifically in regards to pet waste cleanup. Some of these “pet waste laws” require anyone who walks an animal outside of their yard to clean up any waste left by their animal. Should you not choose to clean up after your dog, you face being fined. Fines range anywhere from $50 per offense to as high as $750.

Could this be a factor in the lack of pet-friendly housing?

Pet owners already face enough challenges such as finding pet-friendly housing. Unfortunately, this could be one of the very reasons so many people deny pets or charge outrageous pet deposits and pet rent.

Do we really need to contribute to the public’s negative opinions about our four-legged friends? I think not!

Here is a list of things you can do to sway the public toward welcoming our furry family members:

• Pick up your pet’s waste and discard it in a proper way every single time.
• Carry extra bags: Whether you’re walking or traveling in your car, you will always be prepared. These are popular amongst clients Lavender-scented Dog Waste Bags, 8 Refill Rolls
• Offer a bag to other owners to ensure they are also picking up after their pets.
• Teach children to clean up after a pet.
• Share these facts with friends & neighbors.
• Put a friendly message on the bulletin board to remind pet owners to clean up after their dogs.

For those of you interested in being more environmentally friendly, use 100% biodegradable bags, natural kitty litter or a dog waste disposal system. Doggie septic systems can be easily installed by you in a discreet area of your yard.

Picking up after your pet is not difficult and only takes seconds to manage. Should you find that cleaning up Fido’s mess in your backyard is something you simply do not have the time or stomach for, hire a professional pooper scooper. Your furry and non-furry friends will love you for it.

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Leave a Reply

This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. rachel frampton

    As a pet owner, I am guilty of leaving my dog’s manure in trails, bushes, and woods just like what you’ve stated here. Honestly, my house is a complete mess right now and it also has an awful smell due to my pet’s waste. That’s why I’ve been thinking if only there’s a service that cleans pet waste because this is driving me insane.

  2. Jackson Bush

    Its good to know that dog waste is not the same as fertilizer. My wife was wondering if our dog’s feces could be used as fertilizer for our grass. I’ll let her know that its not the same as cow manure.

  3. Taylor Bishop

    Thanks for the interesting article about pet waste. I’m glad you mentioned that it’s important to discard your pet’s waste properly every single time.

  4. Lawrence

    Great Article with lots of good information!

  5. StephanieRMontgomery

    Awesome info! thanks so much! very through. this post contains huge valuable information on our pets. this article can help bye preventing risk. truly it`s a nice job. thank you for sharing with us. this will certainly help all pet owners…

  6. John Mahoney

    I had no idea that leaving pet waste in the open could contaminate our water sources. It is important to remember that taking the time to clean after your pet does not only help you avoid having messy shoes but also avoid getting weird deceases. We are looking for a company to help my parents clean after their dogs since they are too old to do it on their own soI’m glad I found this article.

  7. Rosa Yanarates

    I always, actually always 99.9% of the time pick up my dog’s poop. The only time I don’t is when I don’t have a bag, as I have a doggy bag holder on his leash with bags and sometimes I don’t realize that it is the last one. And sometimes he goes poop twice and then I have a problem. I used to live downtown San Diego and they had dog waste bags available but I still carried mind. But recently I have become unable to walk my dog and have had someone else doing it for me. And I thought they were picking it up. Until today when they were confronted bye a gentleman and he told me what happened and basically he was talking back to the guy. Then it was fertilizer. He had no clue and I had no clue he didn’t have a good. Hopefully this won’t be a problem again.

    1. Happy Trails & Wag'n Tails

      Thank you for commenting & picking up after your dog! I’m glad the person who walked your dog has learned it is not fertilizer and they will be picking it up as well.

  8. Baxter

    I appreciate your tip to carry extra bags for dog waste removal when you are walking your dog in order to avoid fines. I also appreciate what you said about dog waste not being a good natural fertilizer as many people believe. I’ll be sure to be more diligent in the future with removing my dogs waste!