Did you know that there is an ordinance in the city of Joplin charter that requires dog owners to remove and dispose of their dog’s droppings from not only public properties, but also their private property? Section 18-43 (Code 1977, § 8-34) titled, Removal and disposal of droppings, identifies that droppings are “to be properly disposed of so that neither odor, disease, nor flies shall be allowed to congregate thereon.”
For many people, the chore of removing dog waste from the backyard ranks right up there with changing the o-ring on the toilet. But, like it or not, it is a task that cannot be ignored.
Dangers to your household
Aside from the unsightliness of dog waste and odor, dog waste can pose serious health risks to your family and dogs. In an article provided on the Drs. Foster and Smith website, they state that dog feces is the most common source of parvovirus, whipworms, hookworms, roundworms, giardia, and coccidian.
Parvovirus is especially dangerous and can kill young puppies. The remaining diseases can cause dogs and cats serious vomiting, diarrhea and weight loss and are not always easy to treat.
Even of greater concern, hookworms and roundworms can be passed to humans.
Dangers to the community
In 1991, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defined pet waste as a non-point source of pollution, which put poop in the same category as oil and toxic chemicals. Animal waste left unattended washes into rivers, streams, and other bodies of water through rain and other natural points of erosion and can potentially contaminate drinking water.
In a July 2001 bulletin provided by the EPA, it was reported that “pets, particularly dogs, are a significant contributor to source water contamination.” A Seattle, Washington study found that 20 percent of the bacteria found in water samples were matched with dogs as the host animal.
Ways to prevent the spread of disease
The greatest prevention in the spread of disease through dog feces is to remove dog waste from your yard at least weekly if not more often. Additionally, try to remove dog waste before any heavy rain storms. Rain will often break up and scatter feces allowing worms and bacteria to spread into the environment.
Also, clean up after your dog on all walks, even walks on rural roads or in fields. Disease can be spread through contamination in many ways. Additionally, waste left behind on roads or in fields have a more likely chance of entering a water source than from your back yard in the city.
Dispose of waste properly
Be sure that you use a disposal method that does not increase the likelihood of disease spread. The EPA recommends flushing pet waste down the toilet, which allows it to be properly treated by the community sewage plant or septic system. Be sure that the waste does not include other materials, such as sticks, leaves, or grass, which can harm your septic pipes, but also damage treatment centers.
Another method is to dispose of dog waste in secured plastic bags. Do not throw loose dog waste into the trash or recyclable lawn bags. It should always be secured in a plastic bag to prevent mishandling once it is picked up by the trash collection agency.
And, dog waste should never be used as a component of compost or placed into vegetable gardens.
Dirty jobs or entrepreneurial genius?
Many entrepreneurs have started dog waste removal as a business venture or have begun to include dog waste as a service they provide. Sam Harnar, of Good Dog Pet Services in Carl Junction, offers waste removal as one of his many pet care services.
“Most people hire us for waste removal because they simply don’t have the time to keep up with their dogs weekly production or they have limited mobility,” said Sam Harnar. “The second most common reason we hear is that many people find the chore disgusting and would much prefer to secure an affordable and convenient solution to their dog waste disposal problem.”
Good Dog Pet Services provides yard clean-up for residential or commercial customers on a weekly or bi-weekly basis and can be added on to other in home pet services like dog walking or pet sitting.
Environment Protection Agency Source Water Protection Practices Bulleting EPA 916-F-01-027, July 2001. http://www.epa.gov/safewater/sourcewater/pubs/fs_swpp_petwaste.pdf
Drs. Foster and Smith. http://www.drsfostersmith.com/pic/article.cfm?c=3307&articleid=90&d=155&category=195