What happens when dog poop isn’t picked up?

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If you own a dog, chances are you’ve asked yourself this question at least once in your life. It’s a dirty job, and somebody has to do it, right? But why?

Dog poop can make people and pets sick. It can also harm the environment. These are obvious effects of what happens when dog poop isn’t picked up but let’s look at some other things.

Local pooper scooper laws

Some municipalities have enacted local ordinances to encourage responsible pet ownership. The laws provide penalties to pet owners who fail to supply a living area free of accumulated waste and debris.

Animals should have freedom to move about their environment without coming into direct contact with waste or debris. Laws and penalties vary by location. Enforcement, however, is not always practical. So while it is true that you could receive a fine for not picking up after your pet, there’s also a possibility that you won’t.

Parasitic infections

Dog waste can be harmful to both people and pets. Dogs can carry various disease-causing organisms such as roundworm, hookworm, whipworm, tapeworm, Giardia, Coccidia, E. coli, Salmonella, Campylobacter, and Cryptosporidium. Some of these pathogens can infect people too.

When waste is left to accumulate, the surrounding soil becomes contaminated. Parasites can remain in the environment for long periods. As dogs or humans work or play in contaminated soil, they become exposed to the pathogens.

Children are high-risk for infection when playing outdoors in contaminated soil. Always encourage your children to wash their hands after playing outside or after petting the dog.

Excess nutrients

Dog waste is an excellent source of nitrogen and phosphorus. These nutrients can get into the soil and cause significant problems in the environment.

At the local level, excess nutrients can cause yellow spots on your lawn to appear. These yellow spots are patches of dead grass called “lawn burn.”

As groundwater carries nitrogen and phosphorus downstream into local bodies of water, the excess nutrients can provide a food source for cyanobacteria (blue-green algae). Blue-green algal blooms can release the microcystin toxin into the water supply. Microcystin is a known carcinogen that can bioaccumulate in fish. People who drink or bathe in water containing microcystin face great danger.

One characteristic of microcystin is that it cannot be boiled. When boiled, the concentration of microcystin in contaminated water becomes greater.

Here’s how to clean up dog waste from your yard.

Weekly Maintenance

First, you will need to gather the appropriate equipment and supplies. We use Corona’s Extendable Cultivator, Quickie Mfg’s Jumbo Debris Pan, and 13-gallon tall kitchen trash bags.

Prepare your Jumbo Debris pan by lining it with a garbage bag. Take a few more trash bags with you in case you need them. You are now ready to scan the yard.

Walk your yard using a grid pattern. Scan to the right and left as you complete one sweep across the yard. Turn 90 degrees, take three steps, and turn another 90 degrees to make another sweep across the yard. Repeat this pattern while you walk through your yard.

east-west
Figure 1. East-West Grid Pattern
north-south
Figure 2. North-South Grid Pattern

When you see a pile of dog waste, use your rake to collect it into the receptacle of the dustpan. Continue to collect waste in this manner until you have walked your yard twice (once in a North-South grid pattern and once in an East-West grid pattern).


If your pan gets full, take the trash bag out of the pan and tie it off. Leave it in place on the ground and put another trash bag in your debris pan. After you have thoroughly scanned the yard and gathered up all of the tied-off trash bags, place them together in a large black 35-gallon trash bag. Put this in your trash bin to be collected on your next trash collection day unless local ordinances disallow disposing of yard waste in your trash.

Daily Maintenance

The best way to manage your yard is to clean it up every time your dog goes. This cuts down on time required; however, it’s also more personal.

Use dog poop pick up bags to collect the waste. Wait for your dog to finish. Place the bag on your hand and then pick up the waste. Pull it through so the bag turns inside out. Tie it off and toss it in the trash bin.

It may be time to hire a dog waste removal service when you just don’t have enough time in the day to keep up with this necessary chore. Maybe you’ve become disabled and it’s difficult to bend or twist at the waist. Whatever the case may be, there are many professional services available to assist you in the cleanup of poop from your yard.

Contact us for information on how we can help you save time, so you can pursue life and live better now.

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