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The Real Scoop On Dog Poop

No one likes seeing, smelling, or stepping in dog poop, but did you know that unscooped poop presents serious issues for water quality and human health?

A group of bags of marijuana. A group of bags of marijuana.

The Facts

  • Pet waste is raw sewage. It can transmit bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens to humans and other animals, including tapeworm, roundworm, E. Coli, giardia, salmonella, and more.
  • Four out of ten U.S. households have at least one dog, and four out of ten of those dog owners don’t pick up after their dogs.
  • Unscooped poop in yards, parks, and sidewalks gets into our lakes, streams and rivers, even into groundwater.
  • Nutrients in pet waste cause excess algae in lakes and streams. This limits the light available to aquatic plants. Also, as algae decays it uses up oxygen needed by fish.
  • Nine waterways in Salt Lake County have unhealthy levels of E. Coli: Emigration Creek, Parleys Creek, lower Mill Creek, lower Big Cottonwood Creek, lower Little Cottonwood Creek, Rose Creek, Bingham Creek, Midas Creek, and the Jordan River.*
A dog lying in a grassy field. A dog lying in a grassy field.

What You Can Do

  • Scoop weekly to keep your yard clean. Backyard poop is a big problem.
  • Keep your dog on leash. Then stoop and scoop that poop. Every time.
  • Bring baggies when you walk your dog, plus extras to share.
  • Seal the bags and toss them in the trash.
  • Never use pet waste in your garden or compost. It is not a natural fertilizer.

To all dog owners who keep their dogs on leash and scoop the poop, we say “thank you”! You are protecting water quality, wildlife, and the well-being of your fellow humans. Keep up the good work and give yourself a nice pat. You deserve it.

*per Salt Lake County Watershed Planning & Restoration water quality sampling program, samples collected monthly since 2010

Salt Lake County Stream Friendly Practices

There are many ways to protect stream health. Follow these stream friendly practices to protect water quality, improve native plant diversity, and prevent flood damage.