Animal waste may contain harmful organisms such as Giardia, Salmonella and E. coli that can be transmitted to humans and other animals by ingesting contaminated water. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the typical dog excretes three quarters of a pound of waste per day–or 274 pounds per year!
40% of Americans do not clean up after their dogs.
A single gram of dog feces can contain 23 million fecal coliform bacteria, which are known to cause cramps, diarrhea, intestinal illness, and serious kidney disorders in humans if ingested from contaminated water. There are about 210,000 dogs living in Ventura County; at 274 pounds per year per dog and only 60% of owners cleaning up, that is 10,060,313 pounds of dog poop lying in our watershed!
Facts About Pet Waste
Every time it rains, thousands of pounds of accumulated and untreated pet waste in Ventura County can potentially wash into storm drains and flow directly into our streams, lakes, and the ocean.
Pet waste runoff includes bacteria and parasites that threaten the health of both people and wildlife, as well as create an overly rich nutrient environment, causing excess weed and algae growth.
A clean and healthy watershed is invaluable to the well-being and beauty of our community. Simple precautions can protect and preserve our watersheds.
What Can You Do?
There are safe methods for handling and disposing of pet waste. By following these easy practices, you can protect both the environment and your health.
- Pick up pet waste daily from your yard. While “organic,” pet waste is not a safe fertilizer in your yard or in the watershed.
- When you walk your pet, always carry disposable bags to pick up and dispose of waste properly.
Dispose of Dog Waste Properly
- Put dog waste in the trash. Wrap it carefully in a sealed bag to prevent spillage during collection.
- Dog waste can be flushed down the toilet, so it can be properly treated at a sewage treatment plant. Be sure not to flush the pet waste bag.
Dispose of Cat Waste Properly
- Put cat waste, including cat litter, in the trash. Wrap it carefully in a sealed bag to prevent spillage during collection. Cat waste and litter should only be disposed of in the trash.
- Do not flush cat waste or used litter down the toilet.
- Do not mix cat waste or used litter into your garden soil. Cat waste has been associated with various diseases found in marine mammals as a result of pathogens that end up in the storm drain system or are not eliminated during sewage treatment.
Information provided by the county of Ventura. For more information, visit www.cleanwatershed.org .