Pet waste seems pretty harmless, like manure or compost, but it’s actually not. Pet poop left on streets, pavements, yards, driveways, or along the sides of roads does not magically disappear or fertilize the ground. Animal feces left on the ground gets picked up by stormwater runoff and washed into ditches or storm drains, untreated. Unfortunately, it ends up polluting local streams, Bear Creek, the Rogue River, and eventually, the ocean. This pet poop contaminates water by carrying bacteria (like E. coli), viruses, and parasites that threaten the health of humans as well as wildlife. Also, it actually fertilizes the water because it contains nutrients that feed algae and other weeds, creating green, cloudy water which is unhealthy for swimming in. The increased algae and weeds take oxygen from the water as they decay, which depletes oxygen that is normally available for aquatic life, causing fish and other life to suffocate.
Untreated pet poop can close a recreation area, due to high bacteria concentrations in the water. This means that if the water is accidentally swallowed, or gets in an eye, serious disease could result. Those are some pretty scary side effects from such a lovable furry creature. Luckily, there is a simple solution: Scoop the Poop and dispose of it properly!
The Food and Drug Administration estimates that, on average, one dog will produce ¾ lb of waste a day, and that one day’s worth of poop from a large dog can contain 7,800,000,000 fecal coliform bacteria.
That means your dog’s excrement equals:
5.25 lbs/week, 21 lbs/month, and 252 lbs/year. That’s a lot of poop!
Always bring a plastic bag, or two, when you walk your dog. You can reuse old bags, such as plastic newspaper or sandwich bags. Tie bags on the leash if you don’t have a pocket or pack, or use a doggy bag holder that fits onto your leash.
Use the bag as a glove to scoop the waste, then turn the bag inside out and seal. You can keep a small bottle of hand sanitizer with you or wash your hands with soap and water when you are done bagging.
DISPOSE OF IT!
Place the bag in a trash can or flush it, un-bagged, down a toilet. Never dispose of pet waste in a storm drain as it will then flow directly, untreated, to your local waterway. Pet waste can also be carefully buried at least 5” deep, away from vegetable gardens or waterways. You can also hire a Pet Waste Removal service to be your pooper scooper – check your yellow pages for listings.
RVCOG’s Yard Care at Home Brochure
City of Ashland’s Stormwater Page
View Bacteria in Rogue Valley Streams – RVCOG
Portland Metro’s Tools for Living Site – Info on Dog and Cat Waste
EPA’s Education for Homeowners on Pet Waste Management
Canines for Clean Water
Don’t Let Your Pet Pollute brochure
Pet Waste Brochure
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