Now, I’ve got animals that produce extraordinary amounts of excrement, but our dwarf bunnies could hardly be pinned as the culprits for depositing steaming brown mounds, often strategically located on walking trails around town. What is even worse, is when these piles are left behind in the winter, covered up by the owner or the next snowfall – out of sight, out of mind. That is, until Spring rolls around and walking these trails becomes an agility trial as one maneuvers through the minefield of semi-frozen doggy doo.
I guess what I’m saying, is that I understand the physics and the biology of it – but honestly, the psychology of it baffles me. An owner waits while the dog does it’s business – cause you know, the dog is on a leash of course – then the owner ignores the deposit and strolls on, presumably having to avoid the mess left by other dogs and their owners.
I hate to say it folks, the dogs are innocent in this – I know, I know, this seems to be a change of heart for me, but please don’t get the opinion that I’ll be signing any Canine Rights petitions anytime soon. The owners are entirely responsible for cleaning up their dog’s deposits, where ever they may be.
If you were wondering if there was an engineering or environmentally related point to this article, pet waste does contribute to elevated phosphorus levels as well as fecal bacteria in waterways. From a study conducted in North Carolina, reported in 2006…
Research shows cat and raccoon wastes actually pose larger microbial threats than pet waste, but until these species are routinely guided on walks over impervious surfaces near or surrounding water bodies, the focus remains on man’s best friend.
Respondents who said they walked their pets were asked how often they picked up their pet’s waste. A significant relationship exists between proper waste disposal and dwelling area. While urban and suburban dwellers reported more pet-walking than their rural counterparts, respondents who stated they “rarely” or “never” picked up pet waste made up 47% of urban pet walkers, 49% of suburban pet walkers, and 59% of rural pet walkers.
Respondent age was significantly associated with pet-waste pickup. North Carolina’s youngest (18 to 24) and oldest (65 years and older) residents are most likely to report they “always” or “often” pick up pet waste. Gender was also found to be significantly associated; 35% of women stated they “always” or “often” pick up pet waste compared to 28% of the men.
Wondering what other communities around the world do to combat this, I was drawn to this article on Treehugger, and the linked articles from Germany and North Caronlina . It seems that little flags that can be stuck into the offending piles are becoming a popular solution to shame people into cleaning up after their dogs; in the German case, the tiny flag sports a witty, “Pile looking for Owner” message. Perhaps cities like Castlegar should invest in some doggy-doo flags to clean up our natural spaces, we could even come up with a competition to create the slogan – somehow I don’t think “Happily ever after” will make the cut this time. For a City that is so hung up on appearances, (don’t get me started on the Communities in Bloom program), our level of responsibility as pet owners is pretty dismal.
No wonder the City is so resistant about chickens – we can’t even look after our dogs.