Dog’s Eye View: Recipe has not changed
April 21, 2016
I've written and published more than once on this topic, and hopefully, awareness is beginning to grow. The snow is melting in our parks and on our trails, creating a horrible, unsightly feces soup. All that snow drains into our beautiful Yampa River or soaks into the soil along walking paths and in our parks.
Large scale corporations are being held accountable for contaminating our environment, and we all agree they should do their part to keep our environment safe and clean or pay the consequence. Yet, many of those same people who cry out for justice think it's fine to let mother nature take care of composting their dogs' poop. But, allowing your dog to poop in a public place and not cleaning it up is creating an environmental disaster.
Think about it: My two dog's poop twice per day, sometimes more. That constitutes up to 800 piles per year. I keep my dog yard cleaned up and carry waste bags with me all the time. I know where those piles end up; in a landfill far away from rivers and streams. Take that 800 piles per year and multiply it by how many people regularly walk their dogs and allow them to defecate in public places. See where I'm heading with this?
Too many people are irresponsibly leaving this chore to city and park employees or well-meaning people who pack an extra bag. Various contaminants are found in feces, and some of these pathogens are transmittable to humans — especially children, who play in our parks, dig in the sand and are notorious for the lack of handwashing.
Our parks and recreational waterways are becoming increasingly contaminated. One gram of feces contain 23 million bacteria. Campylobacteriosis, toxocarisis and cysticerosis, as well as salmonellosis, coccidian, e.coli, giardia and parvo virus are among the diseases and viruses that can be caused by this toxic waste.
There are studies by both the Environmental Protection Agency and the Centers for Disease Control supporting this information. According to the EPA, this contaminant is as toxic to the environment as chemical and oil spills. Feces is the No. 3 cause of water pollution.
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When I began research for this article, one of the questions I asked friend and retired National Park Ranger Kathy Krisko was, exactly when and why did the National Park Service prohibit dogs on the trails in National Parks, and what caused this? She told me pet waste is only part of the issue, but it all adds up.
Krisko shared the following information. "I know that, in the NPS, loose dogs were considered to be as much an issue as the dog poop, because they chase wildlife, frighten other people who are hiking, misbehave around horses and other dogs and get bitten by snakes, coyotes and other animals and require rescue. We used to have a 'Dog Card' that said: 'Keep your dog on a leash: 1. for the safety of your dog, 2. for the safety of other people, 3. for the safety of wildlife (and) 4. because it's the law.' When that didn't work, the law was changed to not allow dogs on national park trails. The lack of concern created the need to add another law to prohibit dogs in public places."
The same scenario is occurring on our trails and in our parks within our community, and our officials will soon need to take another look at allowing dogs in public places.
From time to time, it makes sense to repeat an article of interest. I hope you will share this article and help one more person step up and take responsibility.
This article suggestion came from one of our readers. Thank you. Your feedback and suggestions are appreciated.
Laura Tyler is a certified professional dog trainer with more than years of experience. She has earned associate certification through the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, as well as certified nose work instructor through the National Association of Canine Scent Work. She owns Total Teamwork Training LLC here in Northwest Colorado.
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