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How to Dispose of Pet Waste

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Simple ways to keep your yard, neighborhood and lagoon clean (not to mention your shoes).

Nearly 38.4 percent of U.S. households own a dog.1 It’s easy to see why: they’re adorable, loving and have even been linked to health benefits for the owner, such as reduced stress and lowered blood pressure.2 Research has even shown that people who own dogs are more active than people who don’t, logging extra steps during playtime or walks.

On those same walks, however, a sticky (and stinky) issue is introduced that can cause a real problem for the environment — pet poop. Studies show that roughly 40 percent of dog owners don’t pick up after their pets.3

One gram of dog waste (equivalent to the weight of a business
card) contains 23 million fecal coliform bacteria. That’s nearly
twice as much as human waste!

The average dog excretes 340 grams (0.75 pounds) of waste per day — and the piles can take a year or more to fully break down.4

Just two days of dog waste from 100 dogs would contribute enough pollution to close a beach, and all watershed areas within 20 miles of it, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, as reported by Clear Choices Clean Water. Studies in Seattle also found that nearly 20 percent of the bacteria found in urban storm water could be traced back to dogs.5

How can you properly dispose of pet waste?

Here are three simple ways to keep your community — and the lagoon — free of pet waste.

BRING PET WASTE BAGS ON EVERY WALK.

Pet waste bags are easier than ever to pack. You can even find dispensers that hook directly onto your dog’s leash, eliminating the chance that you might forget them. Use the bags to clean up pet waste and then properly dispose of it in the garbage. This not only keeps your shoes and streets clean, but it also helps to protect the waterways. When rain washes pet waste into stormwater drains, pollutants are carried to water bodies — like the lagoon. Pollutants found in pet waste can transmit harmful bacteria to humans, including E. coli.6

Wouldn’t you rather have your pet’s waste end up in the garbage than in the waterway?

One concern that you may have about using pet waste bags is that they’re often made from plastic that will eventually live in a landfill. For a greener option, try plant-based biodegradable bags, which are made from materials that are intended to break down.

PICK UP YOUR PET'S POOP IN YOUR YARD — AND YOUR NEIGHBOR'S.

Many understand the importance of picking up your pet’s poop when it’s in your neighbor’s yard. This simple action prevents people from walking, jogging or biking through pet waste. It also helps you stay on good terms with the neighbors, who you’re likely to see day in and day out for the foreseeable future.

Picking up your pet’s poop isn’t just a common courtesy extended to others, however. It’s equally important to dispose of pet waste in your own yards. Dog poop can pose health risks when left behind on public or private property. It can also enter the lagoon through storm drains and ditches, loading the water with pollutants and harmful bacteria.

Make it Your Business to Pick Up Your Pet’s Business

Do your part for a cleaner yard, neighborhood and lagoon.

SCOOP IT.

Buy a pet waste bag dispenser that attaches to your dog’s leash so you don’t forget. Or cut costs by walking your dog in areas with dog waste stations.

BAG IT.

Worried about the impact of plastic bags on the environment? Biodegradable, plant-based bags are a greener option that gets the job done.

TRASH IT.

Throw the poop in the garbage. Your shoes, neighbors and fellow Lagoon Loyalists will thank you.

Simply scoop it, bag it, trash it — then enjoy all the things you actually want to smell when you walk outside, like your orange blossoms or the neighbor’s barbeque.

WALK YOUR DOG IN AREAS WITH PET WASTE STATIONS.

Don’t want to spend the money on pet waste bags? Cut the cost altogether by visiting areas with dog waste stations.

As an example, the “Bag It! Trash It!” program led to the installation of dog waste stations at Titusville’s Sand Point Park. The initial four waste stations are estimated to have reduced the amount of dog waste left on the ground in the park by 80 percent. Later, two additional stations were added to the park, along with four dog waste stations at the Max Brewer bridge, two stations at the Titusville Marina, and one waste station by a stormwater pond on Knox McRae Drive.7

Look for parks or places that already have pet waste stations and you’ll never have to pay for a poop bag again.

Why This Matters to All of Us

Based on U.S. pet ownership statistics, imagine that 38.4 percent1 of the 227,000 Brevard County households own a dog. That’s 87,168 dogs excreting an average of 0.75 pounds of waste per day1, which adds up to nearly 24 million pounds (23,862,240) of bacterial-infested pet waste upstream of the lagoon every year!

By picking up your pet’s waste and throwing it away, you’ll be doing your part to keep the lagoon — and the greater community — beautiful. Not just for yourself, but for your children and grandchildren.

LEARN MORE ABOUT WHY THE LAGOON MATTERS TO ALL OF US.

BECOME LAGOON LOYAL

Scoop, bag and trash pet waste to earn local discounts. Sign up to become Lagoon Loyal and get rewarded for helping the lagoon!

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Let’s Be Clear…Pet Waste FAQs

Great question! Pet waste does contain nitrogen, a common ingredient found in fertilizer. However, dog poop left behind on public or private property is also the source of major pollutants, which pose significant health risks. One gram of dog waste (equivalent to the weight of a business card) contains 23 million fecal coliform bacteria. That’s nearly twice as much as human waste! Keep in mind that the average dog excretes 340 grams (0.75 pounds) of waste per day, and the piles can take up to a year to fully break down.4 When pet waste is left on the ground, it enters the lagoon through storm drains and ditches, loading the water with pollutants and harmful bacteria.

Other pollutants definitely contribute to the decline of the health of the lagoon, but pet waste certainly doesn’t help. Plus, it’s something that we, as pet owners, can help control. Think of where a dog usually poops in a Brevard County neighborhood — on a grass lawn near a storm drain. Wildlife poops in areas with more elements that assist in the decomposition — and away from surfaces that assist in passing these materials to the lagoon.

For a greener option, try plant-based biodegradable bags, which break down much more quickly than plastic.

SOURCES:
1 “U.S. Pet Ownership Statistics.” avma.org, American Veterinary Medical Association, www.avma.org/KB/Resources/Statistics/Pages/Market-research-statistics-US-pet-ownership.aspx.
2 Zorthian, Julia. “More Evidence That Owning a Dog Is Really Good for You.” Time.com, Time, time.com/collection/guide-to-happiness/4870796/dog-owners-benefits.
3 Freinkel, Susan. livescience.com, Live Science, 10 April 2014, www.livescience.com/44732-eliminating-pet-poop-pollution.html.
4 “Dog Waste and Waterways.” www.eugene-or.gov, City of Eugene Public Works, Stormwater Management Program, https://www.eugene-or.gov/DocumentCenter/View/17001/DogWasteFactsheet.
5 “Frequently Asked Questions About Pet Waste.” clearchoicescleanwater.org, Clear Choices Clean Water, clearchoicescleanwater.org/uploads/88/docs/8800pet_waste_FAQs.pdf.
6 “Pet Waste and Water Quality.” www.melbournebeachfl.org, Town of Melbourne Beach Florida, www.melbournebeachfl.org/sites/melbournebeachfl/files/uploads/dogwasteflyer.pdf.
7 “Bag It! Trash It! Program.” www.titusville.com, City of Titusville Florida, www.titusville.com/Page.asp?NavID=1836.

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