Why are cities so intent on stopping dog waste?
You’ve seen it, I’ve seen it-- we all have to put up with the unfortunate reality that dogs poop-- a lot. They leave behind tons of waste every year (averaging around 275 pounds per dog, to be exact) and if they don’t do it during your walks, they might do it on your bed. Dogs, we love you, but why can’t you use the litter box like cats?
But why is it such a big deal to have dog poop around? Sure, no one likes it, but is it really that big of a deal to leave it lying around untouched?
Actually, it really is. Dog feces can carry a number of dangerous parasites and diseases: ringworm, E. coli, and Salmonella just to name a few. You can read the whole list here, if you dare-- though it’s far from pretty. Is that the only reason why most cities have these policies though? Most of us are smart enough not to touch or step in dog waste, and are careful to clean up afterwards if we run into it. It’s possible, however, that not all of us are…
Bristol, England, once ran a series of advertisements about cleaning up dog waste that featured children smearing dog waste on themselves, and even eating it! Now let’s be real, that’s pretty gross. But is it a common occurrence? Well, it turns out that while many children are careful enough to avoid the doggy doo-doo, there are always the reckless young ones who will try anything. While it may not always be fatal, it can be unpleasant, and lead to a multitude of serious side effects, included all of those mentioned earlier in the article.
So, are children the only reason we want to avoid waste on the streets? Actually, no-- there’s an even more wide spread danger than ruined days, ruined shoes, and sick children. The biggest danger of leaving dog waste in an urban environment is contaminating the water supply in your area. Dog feces is left on street corners and sidewalks, and when it gets washed away by business owners, home owners, or good old mother nature herself, it ends up going down the storm drain with the rest of the water. Now here’s where things start to get dirty. These drained pieces of dog feces can end up contaminating entire water supplies, and potentially thousands of people with infectious diseases. Many diseases spread quickly in water when they can get in it, and showering, drinking, and doing everything else with water that’s contaminated is far from safe.
Even NYC, with its elaborate waste treatment, has found animal fecal matter tests come up positive in water, which is detrimental to the health of the water and unpleasant to anyone who comes across it. Cleaning up after your pet may not be the most pleasant job in the world, but it’s certainly an important one, for all residents of cities. Love your dog, and remember to watch their waste and your carbon paw print!