Since we have been getting complaints and comments about dog waste in common areas, we thought this would be a good opportunity to remind our neighbors with dogs that Fairfax county law requires you to pick up after your pet.
For more on this subject, here is an article provided by Reston Association on the importance of picking up after dogs.
Doody Calls: Pet Byproducts a Major Public Health Concern
Reprint from The Advisor – Vol 5/Spring 2012
By Marc Samson, Communications Director
It’s no laughing matter: failing to clean up after a dog can carry a hefty fine and penalties are going up – way up in some areas. In Fairfax County, Virginia, for example, offenders can be fined as much as $250 per incident.
The laws are on the books, and more and more cities are starting to enforce them, according to Jacob D’Aniello, founder of DoodyCalls, Virginia’s leading pet waste removal service for homeowners and communities.
“It’s a major public safety issue that hasn’t received much public attention until recently, even though researchers have been studying the impact of pet waste on the environment for years,” he says. “More people than ever before use plastic disposal bags to clean up after their pet, but there are still many owners who seem to be oblivious to the hazards to their communities.”
Most laws are similar: No person owning, keeping, or having custody of a dog, except a seeing eye dog, shall allow or permit the dog to defecate or urinate on public parking or any sidewalk and each such person shall immediately remove dog excrement from any curb, gutter, alley or street.
Dog waste is more than just a gross and unsightly mess — it is an environmental
pollutant and a human health hazard. Unattended waste is a major source of
potentially deadly E. coli and can contain up to 23 million fecal coli form bacteria per gram. In fact, in 1991, it was even placed in the same health category as oil and toxic chemicals by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Unlike other sources adding to water pollution, such as lawn fertilizer, rinse water from driveways and motor oil, dog waste produces disease-causing bacteria that can be transmitted directly to humans, especially children, and make them sick. The EPA estimates that two or three days worth of droppings from a population of about 100 dogs can contribute enough bacteria to temporarily close a bay and all watershed areas within 20 miles to swimming and shell fishing.
“The longer dog waste stays on the ground, the greater a contamination becomes,” D’Aniello explains. “Bacteria, worms and other parasites thrive in waste until it’s washed away into the water supply.” Ringworm, roundworm, salmonella and giardia are examples of such bacteria, all of which are found in dog feces and are easily transferable upon contact.
Dog waste is also the number one food source for rats. An unwanted rodent in any community, the presence of rats can decrease the property values of all nearby homes and presents a host of additional health concerns to residents themselves.
“There are now more than 78 million dogs owned as pets in the US and nearly 46 percent of today’s households own at least one,” says D’Aniello. “The most responsible action people can take for their family, community and environment is to make sure their pets are picked up after.” Pet owners who don’t have enough time to deal with the mess themselves, or simply don’t want to, should consider hiring a local