Besides the unsightliness of dog waste on the ground, it poses a significant health hazard to people. How? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirms that pet waste can spread parasites including hookworms, ringworms, roundworms, tapeworms and Salmonella.
So, here’s a scenario: Say you’re at the park and you see some dude walking his four legged best friend. But when Fido stops to do No. 2, the man doesn’t pick it up. If that pup’s waste was infected with roundworm or other parasites, those nasty buggers can linger in the soil for years. Therefore, those who come in contact with the soil also come in contact with the infected eggs. The parasites may then survive on inanimate objects such as shoes, clothes, carpet and floors for months afterward.
Do your children, or your friend’s for family member’s children play at the park? Do you toss a football around or play Frisbee in that park with your friends? If you do, you’re now at risk. Just so you know, if a human ingests a roundworm larva, it can migrate through the body causing disease to the brain, lungs, kidneys, liver, heart or eyes.
Pretty nasty, right? Well, roundworm danger isn’t the only gross side effect of left-behind pet poo—it also contributes to harmful bacteria to our lakes, streams and waterways.
Dog droppings are teaming with E. Coli—one gram of dog feces contains more than 23 million fecal coliform bacteria. (This is the same E. Coli that causes serious kidney disorders, intestinal illness, cramps and diarrhea in humans.) When it rains, dog waste left on the ground washes into storm drains, which then flows into nearby streams, lakes and waterways including Gillette’s favorite public fishing lake at Dalbey Memorial Park, or even Donkey Creek. Therefore, the runoff from neglected pet waste also creates health hazards for fish, ducks, etc.
Oh, and one more thing: have you heard of the parvovirus? Parvovirus is an extremely contagious viral disease that can be transmitted by any person, animal or object that comes in contact with an infected dog's FECES. That’s right, not picking up pet waste can also make Rover ill. Highly resistant, the virus can live in the environment for months, and may survive on inanimate objects such as food bowls, shoes, clothes, carpet and floors. It is common for an unvaccinated dog to contract parvovirus from parks where there are many dogs.
Nearly two decades ago, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classified pet waste as a dangerous pollutant. Now you can see why.
Fur Kids Foundation wants to remind dog owners to pick up after their pet and carry dog waste bags when they exercise their dog. Pick up feces using a plastic bag, and knot the top to control odor and flies before disposing of it in a waste receptacle. Pet waste bags are available for purchase at several pet shops in the area, and many parks in the city and county provide bags for people to use (but these often run out). For those who want a greener option, scoop poop with biodegradable bags instead of plastic bags from the grocery store.
And, picking up poo isn't only for when you're at a park or in a public area. Please be sure to pick up your pet's waste at your home as well. In addition to regularly cleaning up after their dog, pet owners should also make sure that they get their animal regularly checked for parasites at your vet's office.
For an entertaining approach to scooping the poo, check out the Dog Doogity video created by Puget Sound Starts Here. This group is engaging citizens from all walks of life to raise awareness about how cleaning up dog waste will improve water quality in Puget Sound. The public service announcements instruct how to "bag it up" and toss it in the trash.