There are an estimated 78 million dogs in the United States? That’s 16.4 billion pounds of poop per year! There are approximately 39,000 dogs in Grand Prairie. A dog drops an average of 3/4 pounds of waste daily. That means 29,250 pounds or more than 14 tons of dog waste in Grand Prairie each day!
Why is pet waste a problem?
When it rains, the potential exists for thousands of pounds of waste to wash down the storm drains and into our streams, rivers, and lakes – untreated! That means harmful bacteria associated with all this dog waste is going to our water. Untreated fecal matter can be a source of harmful bacteria and nutrients. Just as we don’t want human sewage in our water, it is important to prevent pet waste from being carried into our waterways. It isn’t just water quality that can suffer. Leaving pet waste on the ground, especially in public areas like parks or playing fields, may pose a risk to children, adults and even pets who can be exposed to diseases. Pet waste left on the ground can be unhealthy and messy…no one wants to step in dog waste at the park or ball field!
Consider this... Pet waste contains bacteria and parasites, as well as organic matter and nutrients, notably nitrogen and phosphorous.
Some of the diseases that can be spread from pet waste are:
- Campylobacteriosis – a bacterial infection that causes diarrhea in humans.
- Salmonellosis – the most common bacterial infection transmitted to humans from animals. Symptoms include fever, muscle aches, headache, vomiting and diarrhea.
- Toxocariasis – roundworms transmitted from animals to humans. Symptoms include vision loss, rash, fever, or cough.
In addition to these diseases, the organic matter and nutrients contained in pet waste can degrade water quality. When pet waste is washed into a surface water body, the waste decays. This process of breaking down the organic matter in the waste uses up dissolved oxygen and releases ammonia. Low oxygen levels, increased ammonia and warm summer water temperatures can kill fish.
Excess phosphorous and nitrogen added to surface waters can lead to cloudy, green water from accelerated algae and weed growth. Decay of this extra organic matter can depress oxygen levels, killing organisms. Objectionable odors can also occur.
Flies and other pest insects can also increase when pet waste is disposed of improperly, becoming a nuisance and adding another vector for disease transmission.
What can you do?
You can prevent water pollution due to pet waste. Pick up pet waste and put it down the toilet, bury it (up to 6 inches deep), or put it in the trash. Never leave pet waste behind when taking your pet for a walk – always use a plastic bag and take the waste to the trash.