Updated 17 May 2013

Scoop it. It's the right thing to do.

“Poop scooping” is every dog owner’s civic duty. Pet waste isn’t just unsightly, it’s an environmental health hazard.

Dog faeces, lowly as they are, have extraordinary powers.

Encountered on your favourite beach or footpath, they will not be denied. It’s like trying to look at a swastika with complete impassivity: not possible. It’s even less possible when you realise you have some on the sole of your shoe. (Faecal matter might have been specially designed in a lab to adhere to shoe soles, it does it so well.)

These reasons are quite sufficient for scooping the poop, but there are others too. Dog faeces are not something we want anywhere near our waterways, or kids building sandcastles.

They are a potential source of several pathogens that can cause serious disease in humans and other domestic animals and wildlife, such as E.coli, as well as parasitic worms.

Proper pet waste disposal
  • Pet waste (but not plastic poop scoop bags) should be flushed down the toilet, preferably, so it can get treated at the sewerage plant along with human waste.
  • Or, you can also bury it. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends digging a hole at least 30cm deep, into which you place up to 10cm of waste. Chop and mix the waste into the soil at the bottom, then fill the hole with soil. Pet waste should only be buried near non-food plants, never in vegetable gardens, and adding it to compost piles isn't recommended. 
  • You can also put it in a sealed plastic bag and into the refuse bin, but of course the drawback is the plastic and the faeces end up in landfills. There are eco-friendly disposable bags but they aren’t that widely available; ask your local pet shop to consider ordering some in if they don’t stock them. 
  • Don’t let dogs mess near streams or other water bodies. Instead, walk them in grassy areas, the longer the grass the better. Letting them defaecate in long grass doesn't get you off the hook in terms of picking up and disposing of waste properly, but it's generally better than hard surfaces. Pet waste left on paved surfaces gets easily transported by stormwater into natural waterways where it can harm aquatic life and pose a risk to human health.
  • ·         A bottle of waterless hand sanitiser (available at camping stores) is a good addition to take along on dog walks for a quick post-scoop cleanse.


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