Spring has arrived! But along with it comes reminders of the outdoor fun and exercise our doggies enjoyed this winter. The snow is gone and now Mother Nature begins her struggle to recover from all of the waste they’ve left behind. So, here’s the scoop on poop!
South Burlington has an estimated 3000 dogs residing here. Eleven-hundred, of these dogs are licensed. It may surprise you to learn the average dog produces 4 lbs. of poop a week! That means our “licensed” dogs alone, produce over 2 tons of poop a week! And keep in mind, they also have to pee. While, there may not be a lot we can do about that, we can do something about poop by picking it up in a plastic bag and disposing of it in a receptacle or trash can.
Many of us spend a lot to make sure our dogs eat the “healthiest” food. It’s easy to assume dog poop is fertilizer, not polluting our environment. But, while, their healthy food is high in nutrients for them, it’s so concentrated that Mother Nature just doesn’t have the energy needed to break it all down, before it reaches our streams and precious Lake Champlain.
Dog waste is such a major source of water pollution, the Environmental Protection Agency and the VT Agency on Natural Resources reference it in their pollution regulations and educational information. Dog waste produces toxins, like Giardia, E-coli, and blue green algae. Consequently, the puddles our kids splash in, the grass they roll in and the beach where they swim, can make them very sick, and ironically, make dogs sick, too! When dogs run off-leash, they leave their waste behind in other places, like natural areas. It spreads these toxins that are detrimental to wildlife. But, that’s a story for another time.
So, remember to scoop the poop! When you take your dog out for a walk, to play or for a “potty break”, make sure you bring your doggie bag and another one to share! And if your dog is one of South Burlington’s 2000 unlicensed dogs, show them how much you care and get them licensed! There are free doggie bags waiting, as a thank you!
To learn more about South Burlington’s efforts to support dogs in our community, you can attend meetings of the Committee on Common Areas for Dogs, the 2nd Tuesday of each month at 6pm. For more information about the Committee contact: Betty Milizia, Committee chair at firstname.lastname@example.org or Holly Rees, Recreation & Parks Director at (802)846-4108.