Dog waste should always be picked up and is NOT a “natural thing” that helps trees and plants when it breaks down.
Just like human waste, it is a pollutant. It is bad for people and the environment when it isn’t scooped and thrown out.
Pick Up After Your Pets!
Never leave poop on the street, in your yard or in the park.
Use a bag—biodegradable is best!—and toss your dog’s waste in the trash. Poop left on most surfaces in the city will eventually get washed into our waterways, where it can cause real health risks and problems for wildlife.
Storm Drains: Only for Rain
The storm drains found on your block often empty right into your local creek. Never put anything into these inlets. Dog waste and other trash tossed in there is the same as dumping and littering.
Did you know?
You can flush pet waste and send it to the sewage treatment plant, but don’t include the bag. Plastic bags and wipes—even ones claiming to be “flushable”—will clog home pipes and sewers and can jam treatment plant equipment. Only toilet paper and waste should get flushed.
The Poo-llution Problem
About 40 percent of dog owners say they don’t always scoop the poop. In Philly, we have about 1 dog for every 4 humans! That = lots of potential for poop pollution.
Dog waste contains pathogens (bad bacteria and viruses) that can make waterways unsafe for recreation. It is also loaded with the kind of nutrients that can fertilize algae in our rivers and creeks, eating the oxygen that fish need.
Dogs create about .75 pounds of waste every day, 365 days a year. That adds up to tens of millions of pounds of poop in Philly every year!
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that keeping dog waste out of storm drains is an effective way of improving urban runoff water quality. In one commonly cited study, just 2-3 days of droppings from 100 dogs can contribute enough bacteria, nitrogen, and phosphorus to temporarily close a bay to swimming and shellfishing.
That’s a Good Dog (Owner)!
Use a Leash
Unless a Parks & Rec area is posted as animal-free, you can walk your dog there using a leash no longer than 6-feet. Animal-free areas are usually in Parks & Rec playgrounds, ballfields, athletic courts, and gardens.
Look for Bag Boxes
These handy bag dispensers can be found in parks throughout the city. A simple plastic shopping bag will “doo” just fine, too!
Find a Dog Run
Philadelphia Parks and Recreation has seven dog runs, which are fenced-in areas in a park or playground where dogs can exercise unleashed. See which is closest to you!
Avoid a Fine
Remember: Just because a park or dog run allows you to bring your dog, it doesn’t mean you can leave poop behind, whether it is on a trail, in the woods or on a field — poop is always pollution!
The Philadelphia Water Department Spokesdog program puts a spotlight on dogs and humans who protect Philly waterways from pollution. Check out @PhillyH2O and #SpokesdogPHL on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for tips and events where you can get PWD doggy swag, like hydrant-shaped bag dispensers and toys.
You can be a Poo-llution role model too: take a photo with your pup and tag it with #SpokesdogPHL to share dispenser locations and nearby trash cans with neighbors.