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It’s a Dirty Job, But Dog Owners Have to Do It

2011 October 17

EPA Photo/Kasia Broussalian

By Sophia Kelley

Poop. Since entire blogs have been devoted to the improper handling of pet waste, I think we’re allowed to mention the issue at least once here on Greening the Apple.

The fact is that dealing with waste is one of the unpleasant aspects of becoming a pet owner. Here in New York City, the lack of private yards means that pet waste management often becomes a public issue. Though it is a city law to pick up after your dog, many pet owners get lazy or seem to develop a situational case of ‘poop blindness’ when faced with their own dog’s droppings.

I’ll admit that I had to overcome a little of the gross factor when I first started walking a dog in Brooklyn. Even with the protection of a biodegradable poop bag, it’s certainly not a pleasant task. But you get used to it. Fortunately most dogs can be trained and guided to go to the edge or the curb of the sidewalk. Aesthetically and out of respect for my fellow Brooklynites and pedestrians, I always knew the importance of picking up dog waste. But since coming to EPA, I’ve learned another reason that picking up poop should not be optional – stormwater runoff.

As I mentioned before, we’ve got an old sewer system in this part of the country and when we have heavy rainfall, the system is designed to overflow into our rivers and streams. That means that your dog’s emissions can literally end up in the Hudson River if you don’t dispose of them properly. Even lazy people can agree that nobody wants that.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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3 Responses leave one →
  1. Teresita Lebron permalink
    October 17, 2011

    Most people don’t actually realize what a huge (and serious) issue this is. Thanks for raising awareness, EPA.

  2. Attorney permalink
    October 18, 2011

    I think, it is abuse of rights of people who own pets. Waste is natural. Society must understand and justify animals’ needs.

    • Tasha permalink
      February 4, 2015

      Lucky for me, I own a cat.. I disagree with you my friend, we are an evolved species and we are civilized, as long as we have the power to pick it up we should.

      Can’t you imagine how much dog poop it would be on the streets ? The smell ? Stepping in it every moment ? Do you even realize what you’re saying ? We’re talking In Da City man … not on the country side. It’s ok there, on the grass, but not here.

      And we are animals too, why don’t we just take one in the middle of the street and then yell “Society must understand and justify animals’ needs ! Waste is natural !”

      Do you do that ?

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