Pet Etiquette Guide: Scoop the Poop

Keeping pet waste off the ground is an important responsibility held by all pet owners. If not addressed, the presence of unattended to waste can quickly become a major point of conflict amongst neighbors. In fact, it happens to be the single-most talked about problem in homeowner association and community manager board meetings across the country.

 

Managing pet waste takes an entire community. Here are some simple tips for both pet owners and non-pet owning residents alike to help keep doggie doody from bringing your community down:

 

Keep an eye out. If you notice pet waste accumulating in certain areas, let your community manager know about it. These are called "hot spots" and they tend to attract more waste the longer they go unaddressed.

 

When taking your dog for a walk, always keep a couple doody pickup bags with you. Even if you don't expect Fido to go, you never know. It may also be that you bump into a neighbor who has forgotten a bag of his or her own and will appreciate the gesture.

 

Make use of community pet waste stations for bag pickup and drop off. If you have suggestions for additional station locations, communicate them to your community manager. As a regular station user, nobody knows better than you.

 

If you forget a bag and your dog does do his business, don't forget about the waste, too. Head to the nearest pet waste station for a bag, then go back and pick it up.

 

If you find a station in disrepair or in need of servicing, notify your community manager. Collecting the waste and refilling the bags is a quick and simple fix, as are most repairs on broken stations.

 

So what's the big deal?

 

Keeping this waste off the ground is not just about being considerate to your neighbors and their lawns - it's also about protecting the environment, your family and the community.

 

Dog waste is more than just a gross and unsightly mess. In 1991, it was labeled a non-point source pollutant by the Environmental Protection Agency, placing it in the same category as herbicides and insecticides; oil, grease and toxic chemicals; and acid drainage from abandoned mines. According to the EPA, 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.

 

Unattended waste can also harm your health. While many of us don't realize it, dog waste often carries bacteria, worms and other parasites that can be transmitted directly to humans and make them sick. Ringworm, roundworm, salmonella and giardia are examples of such bacteria, all of which are found in dog feces and are easily transferable upon contact. Roundworm, for example, is one of the most common parasites found in dog droppings and it can remain infectious in contaminated soil and water for years.

 

In an effort to curb pet waste problems, many areas are now enforcing "pooper scooper" ordinances in which failing to clean up after a dog can carry a hefty fine. Most laws are similar:

 

No person owning, keeping, or having custody of a dog, except a seeing eye dog, shall allow or permit the dog to defecate or urinate on public parking or any sidewalk and each such person shall immediately remove dog excrement from any curb, gutter, alley or street. (Washington, DC, "Pooper Scooper" Law)

 

Don't let doggie doody get your community down. Be considerate of your community and pick up the poop.

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Susan D’Aniello is co-founder of DoodyCalls, the nation's leading pet waste management service for homeowners and their communities. To learn more about DoodyCalls’ services for dogs, cats and communities, visit http://doodycalls.com

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