Ventura County's Support-Local Program

Crap Happens! Dog Poo and You.

Americans love their dogs. But picking up after them? Not so much. What we do with all that doggie doo speaks volumes about us as dog owners. We examine the facts about dog poop and our environment.


Artist Paul McCarthy’s inflatable poop sculpture called Complex Sh*t
as seen at The Paul Klee Centre in Berne, Switzerland


Crap does indeed happen. Americans love their dogs. But picking up after them? Not so much. But what we do with all that doggie doo speaks volumes about us as dog owners.

Imagine how many tons of dog waste is created each year. About 10 million tons in the US alone – enough to fill 267,500 tractor trailers stretching 3,800 miles from Seattle to Boston – according to information compiled by DoodyCalls, a company that specializes in picking up dog droppings.

Dog doo damage

crap-happens-bagsBut it’s the poop that is disposed improperly, or not at all, that is of great concern. Scientists have made disturbing discoveries about how toxic dog waste really is. Like when bacteria levels are so high at some beaches that people have to stay out of the water. One of the culprits that significantly raises bacteria levels is, yes, you guessed it, doggie doo.

It’s not just from those little nuggets left on our beaches, but also runoff from storm water drains after that water has come into contact with the waste. Some of the bacteria harbored in dog waste includes E. coli, fecal coliform bacteria, salmonella and giardia.

The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirms pet waste can spread parasites including hookworms, ringworms, tapeworms and salmonella. When infected dog poop comes into contact with your lawn, the poop will eventually “disappear,” but the parasite eggs can linger for years! When a human or animal comes into contact with that soil through everyday activities like walking barefoot, gardening or playing, they risk infection from those eggs, even years after the poop is gone.

But wait, there’s more… poop facts

  • Feces deposited in yards, fields and trails runs off into streams, rivers and even into groundwater. This negatively affects water quality.
  • Dog waste is estimated to cause 20% to 30% of stream and ocean pollution.
  • Dog waste contains nitrogen and phosphorus. These nutrients promote algae growth in lakes, ponds, and streams. This limits light available to aquatic plants. As the algae decays, it uses up oxygen that is needed by fish.
  • A recent CDC study found that 14% of Americans tested positive for roundworm which is commonly found in dog feces.


Reasons to scoop the poop

  • To protect local water quality
  • To protect our children from disease
  • To monitor your dog’s health
  • To respect our community and the visitor experience
  • It’s the law! Pick up pet waste deposited in a public place.

We love to surf in our ocean, walk along our trails, beaches and sidewalks. We want to enjoy the outside, just like you. Please DOO the right thing. Pick up after your dog for a healthy environment for you and your family.

Image credits: DoodyCalls and others

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Learn more about author Kat Merrick

Kat Merrick

About the author

Kat Merrick made her mark in the apparel world as an innovative leader and founder of Surf Chick Inc. With over 25 years of extensive experience managing worldwide capacity apparel facilities, companies and product, her superior leadership skills, practiced in directing cross-functional global teams to design, brand, source develop and marketing, won her world-wide recognition and awards. She is considered an expert in the areas of trend studies, brand building and marketing. At 23 years old she opened her first successful retail business in Ventura County, Since then, Kat has owned and operated several very successful retail and wholesale operations and assisted numerous multi-category small businesses to achieve success. Highly respected by many local small business owners, growers, artists and locals, she has been tagged as "the Shop Local girl". Kat's extensive travels, strong business knowledge and desire to make a positive impact locally helped inspire her to create Totally Local VC. A Ventura County resident since 1978, single mother of two and long-standing advocate for support of local small business and all that is Ventura, founder and developer of Totally Local VC, Kat brings her passion for our community to all she does. Her writings, posts and blog reflect her love of family, friends and community and desire to help.


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