Mid-South pet owners asked to "scoop the poop"

By Anna Marie Hartman - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Memphis officials said an increasing amount of pet waste is posing a threat to the Mid-South's water systems and are asking people to clean up after their animals.

Dog owners Karina Vansickle and Jessica Richardson always clean up after their dogs, Holly and Lola.

"Even though I'm a dog owner and I love pets, I don't want to step in it myself when I'm walking around," Richardson said.

"I see a lot of it along the way," Vansickle said.  "It just looks kind of gross."

Pet waste is more than an annoyance.  If not disposed of properly it is a health hazard.

"Health hazards meaning bacteria and e-coli," said environmental engineer Scott Morgan, "you know, round worms, things like that."

Bacteria from animal waste is carried into the city's storm water drainage system.  The system empties into the Nonconnah Creek, the Loosahatchie and Wolf Rivers, McKellar Lake and the Mississippi River.

Waste in the water also robs plants and fish of oxygen.

Fortunately, there's a safe and easy way to clean up after your pet.  Put a plastic bag over your hand, scoop and turn the bag inside out.  Then, tie the bag and throw it away.

Some city parks even supply the bags.

Vansickle said she uses plastic bags she keeps at home to clean up behind her dog.

"I take one with me just in case she goes," Vansickle said.

A city ordinance prohibits leaving behind your pet's waste on public property.

If you would like a "Scoop the Poop" sign for your yard, call the City of Memphis Storm Water Program at (901) 576-6721 and they will mail you one.

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