MDE urges pet owners to scoop the poop

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Scoopthepoopdoglogosm-02 copyThe Maryland Department of the Environment is urging Marylanders to pick up their dog poop "Every Stinkin' Time."

According to MDE, an estimated 1.3 million dogs live, play and poop in Maryland. Picking up after your dog's waste is important for your health, the health of your pet and Maryland's environment. The simple act of picking up after your dog by "scooping the poop" can assist in removing harmful nutrients and bacteria from local waterways and the Chesapeake Bay, keep our citizens healthy and our yards and shoes clean.

Decaying pet waste consumes oxygen and sometimes releases ammonia. Low oxygen levels and ammonia can damage the health of fish and other aquatic life. Additionally, pet waste carries bacteria, viruses and parasites that can threaten the health of humans and wildlife. Since storm drains do not always connect to treatment facilities, untreated animal feces often ends up in rivers and streams, causing significant water pollution and in some cases restrictions on fishing and swimming in waterways and beaches.

Ways to fight pet pollution

Studies have found that roughly 40 percent of Americans don't pick up after their dogs' waste. Dog waste accounts for 24 percent of the bacteria that pollutes our urban and suburban waterways. You can help by picking up after your dog 100 percent of the time. Below are some tips on what you can do to help keep our watershed clean and healthy:

  • Always clean up after your dog on walks and remind your neighbors and friends to do the same.
  • Don't wait to scoop in your own yard - keep an eye out and scoop immediately.
  • Take multiple bags on walks, just in case.
  • Throw out dog waste using a bio-degradable bag OR flush waste down the toilet (where it will eventually end up in a wastewater treatment plant).
  • Do NOT throw dog waste in a compost bin.
  • Start a campaign to get your community involved, installing pet disposal facilities, poop scoopers and other convenient items to encourage locals to clean up after their pets.

For details or to take the Scoop the Poop Pledge visit the Maryland Department of the Environment website.

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