Scoop That Poop Campaign
Save The Bay!!!
Make your furry pal a friend of the environment by picking after your pet.
Proper disposal of pet waste prevents harmful fecal coliform bacteria and excess nutrients from washing into Tampa Bay.
Sure, the waste produced by one dog may not seem like a big deal, but multiply that by the estimated 500,000 dogs that live in the Tampa Bay watershed and it can really add up to a pile of problems for our rivers, streams and bays.
The Villas Condos is committed to joining in the Tampa Bay Campaign to help save the bay. This is a community-wide effort and we need everyone's assistance.
Did You Know:
- Dog poop can transmit disease to other dogs and humans
- A single gram of doggy doo can contain 23 million fecal coliform bacteria.
- Studies show that two to three days' worth of pet waste from just 100 dogs in a 20-square-mile watershed can contribute enough bacteria to make swimming unsafe.
- About 40% of all dog owners do NOT pick up after their pets
Join The Villas Condos Community-wide "Pooches for the Planet" Campaign today!
Take the Pledge to:
- Pickup after your dog
- Place the waste in a bag
- Dispose of it property in a trash receptacle
- Encourage other dog owners to join you to protect the environment
You have questions? The Tampa Bay Estuary Program has a list of FAQs that should assist below.
Why should I be concerned about dog poop?
Everyone wants the water they drink, swim in or fish in to be clean, but recent studies have found that 95 percent of a disease-causing bacteria called fecal coliform found in urban watersheds comes from animals. Dogs are a key source of this pollution because so many of us have canine companions.
Dog feces left on the ground wash into the nearest pond, lake, stream or bay when it rains. Just one ounce of dog feces contains 23 million microorganisms of bacteria - nearly twice that of human waste.
Dog waste also adds nutrients to our waterways, and most of Tampa Bay - and the rivers and streams that flow into it - already have too much nitrogen. Excess nutrients promote the growth of algae that clouds the water and prevents vital seagrasses from receiving the sunlight they need to grow. Severe algae blooms can consume dissolve oxygen in the water, killing fish and other aquatic creatures.
How big is the problem?
The average-size dog produces about a half-pound of poop per day. According to rabies license records, there are about 500,000 dogs in the Tampa Bay region. Altogether, they generate about 125 tons of poop each day. Bow WOW!
Surveys indicate that nearly 40 percent of people don't pick up after their pets. In our area, that means an average of 50 tons of dog poop is left on the ground each day. That can lead to a pile of problems!
How does dog poop affect human health?
Ingesting water contaminated with coliform bacteria can make people ill, causing diseases such as giardiasis and salmonella. The feces also can contain hookworms, roundworms and other parasites that can be spread to adults and children walking barefoot or playing in the grass near dog waste.
Are you risking your health?
Pets, children who play outside, and adults who garden are most at risk for infection from bacteria and parasites in pet waste. Flies may also spread diseases from animal waste. Diseases or parasites that can be transmitted include:
- Campylobacteriosis - frequently causes diarrhea in humans.
- Hookworms - infective larvae can penetrate the skin of dogs, cats or people. In humans, it causes an itchy skin condition.
- Toxocariasis - may cause vision loss, a rash, fever or cough.
- Taxoplasmosis - symptoms include headache, muscle aches and lymph node enlargement. Can cause birth defects if a woman becomes infected during pregnancy.
Why is dog poop more of a pollution problem than cat feces, or that of other animals, or even wildlife?
While cats and other domestic and wild animals certainly contribute to fecal coliform levels, one interesting difference is that a dog produces 23 million fecal coliform bacteria per gram of feces, or 10 times that of a cow. An average-size dog dropping contains 3 billion fecal coliform bacteria, much higher than most other animals. Urban areas like ours have large concentrations of dogs, contributing unnaturally high levels of bacteria to our waterways.
Feral cats and pet cats that live outdoors add to the poop problem, but many pet cats live pampered lives indoors, where they use the litter box, and that waste is either thrown in the trash or flushed down the toilet.
Can't I just put the dog doo down the storm drain?
It's not as simple as out of sight, out of mind. Storm drains in our region carry dog doo and other pollutants directly to the nearest waterway, NOT a sewage treatment plant. The land area that drains into Tampa Bay, its watershed, encompasses all of Hillsborough County, most of Pinellas and Manatee, and parts of Pasco and Polk. Ultimately, anything dumped or left on the ground in this vast area winds up in our bay.
What is the best way to dispose of dog doo?
Your best bet is to pick up your dog's doo in a bag, and either flush it down the toilet (where it will be treated at your local sewage plant) or place it in a garbage can.
The Villas Condos provides trash containers around the perimeter of the community.
If I dispose of my dog's waste in the trash can, won't it just go to a landfill? Isn't that just transferring pollution from one place to another?
In Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, the vast majority of our trash (including bagged dog waste) is sent to waste-to-energy facilities, where it is burned to produce electricity and sold to area power companies.
In Manatee, Pasco and Polk counties, landfills are the primary disposal options. However, modern landfills are designed with special liners and other safeguards required by environmental laws to ensure that chemicals and bacteria in the trash don't leak and contaminate water supplies. So bagging your dog's poop and putting it in a trash can is ALWAYS a better choice than leaving it on the ground.
Should I buy biodegradable bags for my dog, too?
It's certainly not necessary to buy biodegradable bags if you live in an area where trash is burned to produce energy. Biodegradable pet waste bags are a good option for dog owners who live in areas served by landfills, and there are now biodegradable, flushable bags for those who dispose of dog waste in a toilet.
The pet supply industry is jumping on the "green pet ownership" bandwagon in a big way, with a variety of new poop bags and attractive bag dispensers on the market. But all you really need to do is wrap a newspaper bag around your dog's leash, or stuff one in your pocket, before taking Fido for a walk.
Why weren't we concerned about dog poop, say, 30 years ago?
We have learned a great deal about all sources of pollution in recent decades, and that knowledge is helping us to improve water quality through a variety of solutions. In the case of dog waste, advances in DNA testing and isotope analysis have specifically traced bacterial pollution in several urban waterways back to dog feces. Dog waste certainly isn't the pollutant in our waterways, but it is one of the easiest to prevent.
Pooches for the Planet: Scoop That Poop! » Download an Educational Poster