In today’s world, time is a precious commodity. Of the things on your to-do list, chances are, picking up after the pooch is probably down there towards the bottom. Although it may be an unpleasant chore, keeping pet waste off the ground is an important responsibility held by every pet owner.
Unattended pet waste is a public safety issue that hasn’t received much attention until recently, even though researchers have been studying its impact on the environment for years. More people than ever before use plastic disposal bags to clean up after their pet, but there are still many owners who seem to be oblivious to the hazards to their communities.
Dog waste is an environmental pollutant. In 1991, it was placed in the same health category as oil and toxic chemicals by the Environmental Protection Agency. The presence of pet waste in storm water runoff has a number of implications for urban stream water quality with perhaps the greatest impact from fecal bacteria. The EPA estimates that two or three days worth of droppings from a population of about 100 dogs can contribute enough bacteria to temporarily close a bay and all watershed areas within 20 miles to swimming and shell fishing.
Unlike other sources adding to water pollution such as lawn fertilizer, rinse water from driveways and motor oil, dog waste produces disease-causing bacteria that can be transmitted directly to humans, especially children, and make them sick.
The longer dog waste stays on the ground, the greater a contamination becomes. Bacteria, worms and other parasites thrive in waste until it’s washed away into the water supply. Ringworm, roundworm, salmonella and giardia are examples of such bacteria, all of which are found in dog feces and are easily transferable upon contact.
Dog waste is also a primary food source for rats. An unwanted rodent in any community, the presence of rats can decrease the property values of all nearby homes and presents a host of additional health concerns to residents themselves.
The most responsible thing people can do for their family and community is pick up after their pets, but between balancing family, demanding work schedules and increasingly long commutes, it can be hard. Pet owners who don’t have enough time to deal with the mess themselves, or simply don’t want to, should consider hiring a local pet waste removal service.