The Scoop on Poop

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It’s a beautiful day. The sun is shining, a cool wind is blowing. It’s the perfect time to work in the yard. As I’m carrying a pot of flowers across my front lawn…SPLAT! I step in a big ol’ pile of dog poop.

Worst part? It’s not even my dogs’ poop. While it could’ve been some loose dog wandering by, more likely a neighbor let his or her dog relieve itself on my property and didn’t bother to clean it up.

I’ve seen the same thing on hiking trails, in campsites, in dog parks and on city streets. And quite honestly, this kind of disregard for others blows my mind. What are these people thinking?

Perhaps they’re distracted by a call or text. Perhaps they’re grossed out by their pup’s excrement. Or perhaps they just don’t care.

Whatever the reason, it’s becoming a big problem — the nation’s 78 million dogs poop 10 million tons a year — and neighborhoods and cities are struggling to address it.

In many towns, you can face a hefty fine for not picking up after your pooch. Some places are utilize DNA tests to determine which pup the poop came from. Others are rolling out awareness campaigns to encourage dog-owner responsibility. Some neighborhoods are even banning dogs altogether. And In Brunete, Spain, dog poop is boxed up and mailed back to offenders.

Dog waste isn’t just unsightly and smelly; it has a tremendous environmental impact. While some people believe it makes a good fertilizer, that just isn’t true. In fact, over two decades ago, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) labeled it a “non-point source pollutant,” placing it in the same category as herbicides and insecticides, oil, grease and toxic chemicals, and acid drainage from abandoned mines.

In addition, dog feces contains bacteria and parasites that pose a health threat to both humans and other canines. It is one of the most common carriers of the following diseases:

  • Heartworms
  • Whipworms
  • Hookworms
  • Roundworms
  • Tapeworms
  • Parvo
  • Corona
  • Giardiasis
  • Salmonellosis
  • Cryptosporidiosis
  • Campylobacteriosis

No one enjoys dealing with dog poop. But luckily, there are many products on the market today that make it easy to pick up and dispose of it. There are even companies who will clean up your yard if you don’t have the time or inclination to do it yourself. And even if you already take care of your own dog’s business, you can politely educate others about the health and environmental consequences of not cleaning up after their pets. With just a little effort, we can all do our part to make our cities and neighborhoods healthier, cleaner and a whole lot less stinky.

Your turn: Have you ever witnessed someone not cleaning up after their dog? What did you do?

Amber Carlton is a freelance blogger and business writer specializing in the pet industry. Owned by two dogs and two cats, she is affectionately (?) known as the crazy pet-lady amongst her friends and family. Connect with her at Comma Hound Copywriting, on Twitter, on Facebook or at Mayzie’s Dog Blog.

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