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  • Writer's pictureIPWA

Boulder County Pet Waste Study

Boulder County recently shared the report "Dog Guardians’ Perceptions and Behaviors Related to the Disposal of Pet Waste in City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks" (read the full PDF here). Below is a summary from the report of the impacts of dog waste on the environment:

"Across the United States, dogs produce 10.6 million tons of waste annually (Stevens & Hussmann, 2017). Not surprisingly, dog waste has become an issue in the field of outdoor recreation in protected areas. Dog waste is non-native to park and protected area environments and has the potential to carry zoonotic bacteria and parasites, such as roundworms and hookworms,which can pose health hazards to humans, other dogs, and wildlife (Kachnic et al., 2013; Rahim, Barrios, McKee, McLaws, & Kosatsky, 2017; Wilson, 2014; Acosta-Jamett et al., 2011).

Additionally, the excess nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorous, from dog waste create environmental conditions that can produce algal blooms in waterways (Stevens & Hussmann, 2017). When algal blooms persist over time, they can result in oxygen depletion and fish mortality (Hallegraeff, 1993; Svircev et al., 2016). Lastly, research suggests that park visitors (both those with and without dogs) are often bothered when dog guardians do not properly dispose of pet waste (Vaske & Donnelly, 2007) and as a result, conflict between visitors may arise (Jones & Lowry, 2004)."

The bottom line is that dog waste is not natural and has devastating impacts on the environment. State and federal laws require dog owners to pick up their dog waste, so do the right thing and pick up your dog's poop! In the wilderness, this means packing it out with the rest of your trash. Check out our "Dogs in Wilderness" page for more information, tips on hiking with your dog and leash rules.


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