When we decide to become pet owners, it is our responsibility to take care of not only the animal itself but also the impact that it has on our surroundings.
One of the most basic and important ways to do this is by picking up our dog’s feces when we take them for a walk. Unfortunately, not everyone seems to understand the importance of this simple task.
The North Bay Mattawa Conservation Authority wants all members of the public to enjoy bringing their dogs with them on hikes in its conservation areas and trails but asks that pet owners respect other hikers and wildlife by keeping their dogs on leashes and cleaning up after their pets.
"In the spring pet waste often appears on trails as the snow melts," said Adam Whyte, Acting Manager, Lands and Stewardship. "It's a good time to remind pet owners that poop-and-scoop rules apply and pets are to be leashed and under control at all times,”
First and foremost, picking up after our dogs is a matter of basic hygiene. Dog feces can carry a wide range of parasites and bacteria that are harmful to both humans and other animals. When left on the ground, it can contaminate the soil and water, and spread disease.
Children, in particular, are at risk of coming into contact with these harmful substances, as they are more likely to play on the ground and put things in their mouths. Picking up our dog’s feces is a simple way to prevent the spread of disease and keep our communities safe.
Furthermore, leaving dog feces on the ground can have a negative impact on the environment. Dog waste contains high levels of nitrogen and phosphorus, which can contribute to the growth of harmful algae in waterways. This can have devastating effects on aquatic ecosystems, leading to fish kills and other environmental problems.
In addition to the health and environmental benefits, picking up after our dogs is also a matter of common courtesy. No one likes to step in dog poop, and it can be a major inconvenience to have to clean it off of shoes or clothing. Leaving dog feces on the ground is not only disrespectful to our neighbors, but it can also be a safety hazard. People who are distracted by trying to avoid stepping in dog poop may be more likely to trip and fall, risking injury.
So, the next time you take your dog for a walk, remember to bring a bag and do your part to keep our communities clean and healthy.