Pet Waste - Information and Taking Action
We need your help! The City of Dover is working with residents and the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) to promote proper pick-up and disposal of pet waste. Recently, NHDES & UNH conducted a study using a DNA fingerprinting technique to match bacteria found in water samples to bacteria from specific sources, including humans and domestic animals. With this forensic science, NHDES found that dogs are a significant contributor of bacteria in surface waters including a small creek in Dover that flows into the Bellamy River.
Also, the amount of dog waste left on the city’s playing fields and in parks concerns residents and town officials. The messes are smelly, unhealthy nuisances that often someone other than the dog owner has to remove. While many dog owners are responsible, it’s time to make sure that pet waste is properly managed for the good health and benefit of everyone.
Why is pet waste a problem?
Rain or snow runoff can carry pet waste directly into waterways or storm drains, which usually empty without any treatment into a stream, river, or estuary. Untreated fecal matter can be a source of harmful bacteria and nutrients. Just as we don’t want human sewage in our water, it is important to prevent pet waste from being carried into our waterways.
It isn’t just water quality that can suffer. Leaving pet waste on the ground, especially in public areas like parks or playing fields may pose a risk to children, adults, and even pets.
Pet waste carries disease causing organisms such as Giardia and Salmonella which can make water unsafe for drinking or swimming; to protect the public from illness, swimming beaches and shellfish beds can be shut down due to bacterial contamination, and pet waste can be a cause of that contamination. Pet waste left on playing fields or in parks can be unhealthy and messy. There are currently 3,400 (as of fall, 2008) registered dogs in the City of Dover. One dog probably “goes” at least once, maybe twice, a day. That’s a lot of dogs and a lot of waste!
Let’s work together to keep pet waste out of our water resources and recreational areas.
Do your part: SCOOP THE POOP!
Scooping your pooch’s poop isn’t just a courtesy for those walking behind you; it’s the healthy and environmentally sound thing to do. Picking up after your dog is not only easy, in Dover it’s the law!
Here are some easy steps for dealing with your pet’s waste:
- Always carry a plastic bag when you walk your dog
- Re-using an old newspaper delivery bag or plastic grocery bag works well
- To avoid unpleasant surprises, check the bag for holes before your pet’s walk
- Use the bag as a glove to pick up the pet waste
- Turn the bag inside out around the waste, scoop it up, seal the bag, and dispose of it in a trashcan
- Don't place bagged or un-bagged pet waste in a storm drain or hose pet waste towards storm drains as they drain directly to a stream, river, lake or other waterbody
- If you have a large yard, bury un-bagged pet waste about 5 inches deep in the ground away from vegetable gardens and waterways; remember that compost piles may not get hot enough to kill disease-causing organisms
- Remove waste from areas where children play or you garden
- Wash your hands with warm, soapy water after dealing with pet waste
For additional information about this project or pet waste in general please contact Barbara McMillan, NHDES, Watershed Assistance, 271-7889, firstname.lastname@example.org or Sally Soule, NH Coastal Program, 559-0032, email@example.com
In the meantime, click on this link to learn more about pet waste and what you can do to help.