Cleaning up dog poop in your yard needs to be done regularly or you will quickly have a toxic and dangerous minefield of feces. Dog feces can contain parvovirus, whipworms, hookworms, roundworms, threadworms, campylobacteriosis, giardia, and coccidia. If left unattended, these parasites, bacteria, and viruses will contaminate the water, soil, and can infect both pets and humans, especially vulnerable are young children playing in the contaminated yard.
Many of our constituents ask us, “There are hundreds of animals in the forest, and nobody seems worried how their waste products affect the environment, so why should you worry about pet waste?”
According to the U.S. Humane Society, 40% of United States households have at least 1 dog. Based on a city the size of 21,000 households, there are at least 125 dogs per square mile in the city. This is a much higher population density of large mammals than you would find in a natural forest. You would expect to find an average of 4 fox, 0.8 coyotes, 0.1 wolves, 2.6 raccoons, 0.1 lynx, 0.6 bobcats, 8.5 skunks and 0.2 bear per square mile in undisturbed areas.
High animal populations yield lots of waste for the ecosystem to decompose. In a natural forest, this waste would slowly be broken down by microorganisms and would then be filtered through the soil by rain and snowmelt.
In an urban setting, the natural system has been altered by increased runoff due to impervious surfaces (surfaces that do not allow water to infiltrate the soil including rooftops and asphalt or concrete roads, parking lots and sidewalks). Pet waste that isn’t properly disposed of will often be flushed into streams and lakes before being completely broken down.
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