Why we need to teach dog owners to leave no poo behind


Scooping the poop is good for pets, people and the environmenthere's why.

My wife and I recently moved into a townhome. Before we lived in a single family home with a fenced in backyard. With this move came the realization that we would be walking our dog, Romeo, outside on a leash each time he needed to go. As responsible pet owners, we make sure to go with the mindset of “leave no poo behind” and properly bag and dispose of Romeo's mess that he strategically leaves around our townhome community. 

There are many pet owners who do not have that same mindset and leave behind their pet's poo. I can just imagine these owners' nervousness while their pet is in the act. They are constantly looking around for witnesses. As soon as their pet is done they probably do a slightly faster than normal walk to avoid being caught. Now seeing someone do this may evoke a slight giggle, but in actuality leaving a dog's feces on the ground can cause some problems-some more innocent than others. First, I'm guaranteed to step in what you left behind. And when this happens I'm going to be wearing my newest pair of shoes, or the pair of shoes that has the most traction, making the removal process that much more difficult.

Not only does dog poo ruin my best pair of shoes, the Environmental Protection Agency actually labeled it as a nonpoint source pollutant in 1991. This label places it in the same category as herbicides and insecticides, oil, grease and toxic chemicals. Contrary to the belief that dog feces would be a good fertilizer to your lawn, it actually burns grass and will cause it discoloration. Dog feces also contain the fecal coliform bacteria that can cause cramps, diarrhea, intestinal illness and kidney disorders in people. Dog feces can also contain a number of other harmful organisms-including hookworms, whipworms, roundworms, tapeworms, Giardia, Salmonella and many others.

Now some people may be saying, “I refuse to pick up other people's pet waste.” If we all work together to pick up after our own pets, then we won't have to pick up for others. Many public areas have even made it easier for pet owners by providing stations with small baggies and even a trash can to toss the waste after you bag it. If your own pet is simply too difficult to clean up after you can even hire someone to come and clean up for you-for a small fee. 

We must encourage pet owners to take responsibility for the actions of their four-legged friends. If we work together, we will ensure a cleaner, safer and a better smelling environment for all of us to enjoy. We will also ensure the safety of our best pair of shoes.

Adam Oliver is a technician at Veterinary Specialty Care in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina. Share your thoughts on pet owners' responsibilities by emailing firstline@advanstar.com. 

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