Poop Piles Up - Feces Facts
- There are approximately 5,600 dogs in Routt County, each dog produces approx. 0.75 lbs/day of poop, for a total of 4,200 lbs/day. This equals 1.5 million lbs/year or more than 750 tons/year.
- Pet waste is a leading source of both nutrient and bacteria pollution to urban streams and waterways.
- Not picking-up and disposing of pet waste can expose families to diseases when they play in the yard or swim in the Yampa River.
- Pet waste carries pathogens - parasites, bacteria, viruses – that can spread to domestic and wild animals or even humans. A single gram of dog waste contains 23 million fecal coliform bacteria. More recently, researchers have also found that dog waste can also be a reservoir for antibiotic resistant bacteria.
- Human pathogens and CDC case estimates:
- Round Worms - 10,000 U.S. cases annually
- Cryptosporidium – 300,000 U.S. cases annually
- Campylobacter – 15 cases per 100,000 persons
- E. Coli – 73,000 – U.S. cases annually
- Hookworms – unknown; impacts pets
- Giardia – 2 million U.S. cases annually
- Pet waste contains phosphorus and nitrogen that enters our waterways and promotes algae growth. Algae depletes the oxygen in rivers suffocating fish and aquatic insects and disrupting the ecosystem. Nutrients and algae can increase ammonia and acidify water.
- Pet waste is not natural – it introduces digested concentrated feed, pathogens, and excessive nutrients.
WHAT TO DO
- Reuse plastic bags (preferably recycled plastic, because it breaks down more quickly in landfills) or buy compostable ones to pick up pet waste from trails, sidewalks, yards, parks, and roadways.
- Steamboat Digs Dogs provides pet waste stations and over 200,000 compostable bags annually along the Core Trail and at trailheads, but always bring an extra pet waste bag. The dog waste stations occasionally run out of bags due to heavy use or theft. (Yes, theft. Some people take all of the bags from the pet waste stations, so they don’t have to buy their own.)
- Always dispose of pet waste in the garbage. Landfills are designed to safely handle dog waste and picking up after your pet is one of those rare occasions that single-use (or double-use, in the case of reuse) plastic bags is warranted.
- A note on other disposal methods:
- Burying pet waste can still store pathogens and nutrients in the soil.
- Flushing dog waste (without a bag, of course) is an option, but it wastes water unnecessarily.
- Backyard composting of dog waste is not recommended – temperatures do not reach an adequate level to kill pathogens.
- Don’t leave bagged dog poop on the trail! Even if you have convinced yourself that you are that one person that never forgets to pick it up. You’re not. Trailheads in Steamboat are littered with bags of dog poop left there by people just like you. The City does not pay professional poop scoopers to clean up after you.
- Come prepared to pack your pet waste out. Products like PooDoo Pouch, the Yukky Puppy Poop Bag Holder, and the Double Doodie Poop Bag Holderallow you to pack that bag of dog poop out in a hands-free pouch until you can get to a trash can.
- Steamboat Springs Animal Control Officers will be giving away 100 dog poop pouches to responsible pet owners that they see leashing their pets and scooping the poop (postponed for COVID).
- Forgot a bag and feeling guilty that you left poop on the trail? Then ease your conscience by bringing five bags next time and pick up pet waste left by others.
- Always pick up the dog poop in your yard even as a season of dog waste melts out of the snow in the spring. Snowmelt and stormwater drain from your yard and into creeks and rivers carrying dog waste, fertilizers, and other contaminants with it.
According the Steamboat Springs Revised Municipal Code Section 4-12, failing to pick up pet waste from public or private property that is not your own can result in fines of $50 (first offense), $75 (second offense), and $100 (each subsequent offense).