Pick Up Your Dog's Poop-It's Killing the Environment
The number of American households with dogs is around 77 million (5). That’s a lot of dogs…and a lot of dog feces. It sounds self-explanatory to pick up the feces of your animals, but over 30% of dog owners don’t do this resulting in damages to the environment you wouldn’t expect to come from not picking and disposing of feces properly.
Many people complain about the smell produced from dog feces they see on the side of the street or when they are out for a walk in the park, but the real issue is the pollution and danger it causes to the different water sources. Creeks, rivers, lakes, and ponds are at risk of becoming hazardous and contaminated with bacteria.
Dog feces are different to the feces of wild animals. The food wild animals consume come from natural resources in their habitat provided by the environment. After digesting and doing their business, those same feces provide essential benefits back to the ecosystem. (2) Whereas for dogs, the food they consume are pet-foods designed to provide them with a healthy diet and added nutrients to help with things such as making their fur coats shiner and smooth. Dog feces have the power to kill native plants surrounding trails in natural forest and other landscapes (3).
Rainy days and storms can cause the feces on the side of the road or feces on grass patches to travel to its nearest storm sewers effectively traveling into different waterways. Once they land in water, the entire ecosystem is at risk of unstable conditions. They contribute ¾ to bacteria in contaminated waters. Dog feces contain nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus which consume oxygen that water life needs to survive. Pathogens also come from these same feces and once they decompose, they create harmful algae and weeds. Good algae play a role in aquatic ecosystems (ecosystems surrounding a body of water) by providing them with forms of energy base for food. (1) Algae also converts water and carbon dioxide into sugar for photosynthesis, but this all becomes at risk when harmful algae try to consume these forms of energy and end up destroying the entire ecosystem which also results in raising fish mortality rates. Those creeks, rivers, lakes, and ponds become green, smelly, murky and filled with bacteria and viruses that can cause people to get sick with salmonella and E. Coli (4).
For reasons like these, it is important for dog owners to be mindful and always carry disposable trash bags with you if you go out for a walk. If you end up forgetting said trash bags, many parks and recreation areas have posts all around where you can get trash bags to pick up after your animals. Once inside the trash bags, all you have to do is dispose of it in the nearest trash can, that way the Overdue crew doesn’t need to clean up after you!