Friday, March 14, 2014

Dog Waste: Scoop it and trash it - for your health!

Our furry best friends bring great joy into our lives. They comfort us, help us get exercise, make us smile, and if YouTube has taught us anything, dogs are extremely entertaining. With the joy of having dogs, comes responsibility. Pets require food, baths, exercise, training, and course – cleaning up!

Pet waste left on the ground unnoticed or incorrectly left to fertilize or compost can harm people, animals, fish, shellfish, and impact water quality.

Beyond the yuck factor
Dog poop contains twice the amount of coliform bacteria than human feces. It can also contain viruses and parasitic worms which can transmit disease to humans. Some of the disease transmitting germs can be transferred among pets, other domestic animals, and even marine mammals.

An average dog poops ½ - ¾ pounds a day, containing 5.2-7.8 BILLION fecal coliform bacteria per pet.  It may seem as though it’s just one dog, or one pile of poop, but clearly these bacteria add up and impact public health.

Many studies clearly link pet wastes and waterborne bacterial pollution. Once it gets into our rivers, lakes, and streams the bacteria end up in fish and other aquatic life. Pet waste can reduce the oxygen content in waterways and make it difficult for aquatic life to survive.  Dog poop is raw sewage that gets into our waterways – where we fish, swim, boat, and gather food.

The solution? Scoop the poop!
This should be done out on walks and at home.

  1. Pick it up.
  2. Bag it. 
  3. Throw it in the trash.

Can I flush it?
No. Water treatment facilities and septic systems are not designed to handle pet wastes.

Can I compost it?
No. It is not safe. Composting will not kill the fecal coliform bacteria in pet waste.

Can I bury it?
Unless you are using an approved product such as Doggy Dooley or another pet waste digester, this is not a good option.  Buried pet waste can get into groundwater - our source of drinking water.

Why should I pick up my pet’s waste?

  • Ensure a healthier environment
  • Prevent messes on shoes
  • Avoid fines
  • Keep shellfish beds and swimming beaches open
  • It’s the right thing to do!

Pet waste collected from home should be double bagged and thrown into the trash. Pet waste picked up on walks or at your local dog park can be placed in a single plastic bag and put into trash.

If pet waste is a problem in your neighborhood, consider installing a pet waste bag dispenser. They are free and available from Stream Team.  Contact an educator at (360) 867-2674 for more information or to request one today!

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