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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
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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