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Pet Waste: AKA POOP

Posted By SLCo Animal Services
April 09, 2020

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The weather is warming up and more dog owners are heading outdoors to their neighborhoods and the hiking trails. Unfortunately, with that comes another problem, dog poop. At Salt Lake County Animal Services, our Animal Control Officers and staff members are inundated with complaints about all the poop! So be part of the solution, not the problem. Plus your neighbors will like you better if you clean up. 

Here are some of the reasons why you should clean up after your dog:

  1. Disease Causing Bacteria and Parasites – Harmful For Humans And Dogs

    Nitrogen and phosphorus isn’t the only thing that dog poop has a lot of.  Dog waste is even more full of disease causing bacteria and parasites than other types of waste.  These bacteria and parasites are harmful to humans and spread disease to other dogs.  Dog waste is full of E. coli, salmonella and is a common carrier of the following: Worms (several types), Parvovirus, Coronavirus, Giardiasis, Salmonellosis, Cryptosporidiosis, and Campybacteriosis.  These bacteria and parasites can actually linger in the soil for years.  If you don’t pick up after your dog, you are putting other people and other dogs at risk of getting sick.

  2. Dog waste takes a YEAR to breakdown - it DOES NOT wash away!

    Another common misconception is that if you don’t pick it up, it will quickly break down or wash away.  However, once again, this is not the case with dog poop.  In fact, dog waste can take as long as a year to naturally break down.  Especially since we live in a climate with a colder winter season.  The other down side here is that, as previously mentioned, the bacteria still lingers in the soil.  So even if you leave the poop on the ground and it does eventually break down, all of those bacteria and parasites will be left to linger there for several more years.

  3. It’s Just Poop, It’s Natural Like Cows, It’s Fertilizer – Not True! 

    A common misconception, or excuse people use, is that poop is natural fertilizer.  However, this is not really true.  Not all piles of poop are created equal.  If that were the case, we probably would have to invest so much in sewage treatment of our own waste.  Cow manure is has a very different make up from dog waste because their digestive systems, and diets are very different.  Cows are herbivores, where as a dog’s are omnivores, and their diets are very high in protein.  Dog waste is actually so high in nitrogen and phosphorus that it can have the opposite effect of fertilizer.  It can actually burn your lawn if you don’t pick it up.  It also causes all sorts of issues for local watersheds, but that’s a blog for another day.
       4. Common Courtesy – What’s that smell?

       There are many things that can ruin your day, but stepping in a steaming pile is definitely high on the list. There is not many things that are more unpleasant than getting in the car, and blasting the heat, only to discover a terrible odor emitting from the floorboards.  When you take your pet off of your property, you are entering public shared space.  It is the duty of pet owners to ensure that they pick up after their pets. Your dog’s waste is your mess, and you need to    pick it up yourself.  No one likes a messy shoe and a stinky car.


What can you do if you see someone not clean up?

1. Make it Personal: Local communities across the country have created poop shame campaigns

2. Take a Photo: The best way to report the person who has not cleaned up after their dog, is catch them in the act. Take a video, a photo, get their license plate number and give it to your local animal control after you file a complaint. 

3. File a Complaint: Most cities and counties have ordinances that require people to pick up after their animals. If you live in Salt Lake County Animal Services jurisdiction, you can find the laws for your area online