By Laura Pakis, Professional Dog Blogger and Certified Dog Trainer
Why not just let it sit there and degrade? Aside from the fact that other people and animals may be sharing the yard, dog poop is a health hazard. Left alone it can gather maggots, parasites from other animals, pass parasites TO other animals, which in turn pass them back to the dogs, and possibly us humans as well. The smell alone is also a good incentive to pick it up, as well as irate neighbors (who complain of the smell). Picking it up is also the best solution if you have a dog who likes to snack on “poop-sicles” (coprophagia).
So what can you do to dispose of this feculent;
Dog waste can be flushed down the toilet. The water from the toilet goes either to a septic system onsite or a sewage treatment plant that removes most pollutants before the water reaches its outlet.
A good option is to install an underground pet waste digester in the yard (Doggie Dooley or equivalent). Before buying one, check with your local health official to ensure that it is permitted, and if there are site location restrictions.
You can also bury the waste directly in the yard. Dig a hole or trench that is 6 inches deep, away from vegetable gardens, play areas, and away from any lake, stream, or well. Often, the woods is an ideal spot. Microorganisms in the top layer of soil will break down and digest the waste, releasing the nutrients for uptake by adjacent vegetation.
Never add the waste as a fertilizer to the garden or to the compost pile. The disease organisms will continue to survive and create a significant health risk.
Check local ordinances first. Putting pet waste in the trash is against the law in some communities. Even if legal and easy, it’s not the best solution. Waste can contribute to the landfill problems in the state.
Leave it to someone else
Believe it or not, a number of professional pet waste disposal services exist. These businesses will completely remove the waste from your yard and dispose of it themselves, for a fee.
If you leave the waste to decay in the yard, be sure it does not become a problem. To prevent water pollution, clean up areas near shallow wells, storm drains, ditches, and watercourses. Always remove pet waste from areas where children play….for obvious reasons, kids are the most frequent victims of diseases from feces.
Ordinances, signage and education
Many communities have “pooper-scooper” laws that govern pet waste cleanup. Some of these laws specifically require anyone who walks an animal off of their property to carry a bag, shovel, or scooper. Any waste left by the animal must be cleaned up immediately. Call your local health officer to find out more about pet waste regulations.
In recreation areas, trails, and public parks, dog waste signs along with plastic bag dispensers and disposal cans should be provided. This idea is especially critical at streams or near walking trails along lakes and oceans.
There’s really no place so isolated that you can be sure dog poop would not put some animal at risk of catching something from your dog, or some person or animal at risk of stepping in the mess. Picking up is just part of having a dog. If everyone would do it, there would be far fewer objections to dogs living and traveling in human communities.
Be proud to be seen picking up dog poop. It may seem silly at first, but people who see you do this will know any mess left behind is NOT from your dog. Picking up shows pride in your community, in yourself, and in your dog. You set a great example for others, and you help create a brighter future for dogs and their people.