Karen Vail: To area dog owners
I met a young woman at the corner of Third and Maple streets walking two dogs recently. The conversation went something like this:
Me: Do you need a bag?
Woman: No, I don’t.
A long pause.
Me: Your dog is pooping there, right? I have extra bags.
Woman: I don’t need one.
Another long pause.
Me: So, you are just going to leave it there and not pick it up.
Woman: I have enough to pick up in my own yard.
Me: I find that very disrespectful. Here, please take a bag.
Woman: I don’t need a bag.
I had to walk away before I said anything more that might not be so nice and respectful on my part. I can compare this conversation with another I had the day before with a nice couple walking down Skyline Trail with their beautiful Saint Bernard Emma.
The week before they had picked up a small kitchen-size bag of poop on the Skyline loop from the water treatment plant. The trail once again had little brown piles along it, and they were exasperated that people were not doing something so simple and easy as bending down, scooping a bag around their dog’s poop and picking it up. There were actually several places where people had carefully placed pieces of snow over the brown pile.
I commended this couple again and again on their efforts for trying to keep the trail a nicer place to walk. They said they had another motive in that the water treatment plant was talking about closing the trail to public use because of the abundance of dog poop.
Listen up, people. This could be a reality if we continue to ignore the simple basic responsibility of picking up after our dogs. We could lose the use of trails that we covet. The land owners have every right to close a trail if they consider the overabundance of crap a threat to health or a sickening nuisance.
Dog poop is consumed by wildlife, and they ingest the unnatural ingredients in the poop as well as any medications the dog is ingesting. Our dogs’ poop also harbor pathogens that are detrimental to the wildlife ingesting it and the waterways that the poop eventually washes into during the spring runoff. Your kids play in the streams where these pathogens wash into.
Your dog’s poop might be “organic” in a sense, but it is not a natural and innocuous element in our natural environment, especially in the amounts found around our valley. Think about the fact that for every person in Routt County there are at least two dogs. That could be a LOT of unnatural waste and pathogens washing into our streams and rivers.
I think one of the most important things for all dog owners to remember is that it is just plain respectful to your neighbors and the community to pick up after your dog. If we own a dog this is a responsibility, just like having a child. We feed, shelter and care for them. And that care includes seeing that we take them for a walk to do their daily duty and take on the responsibility of cleaning up after them. Sooooo simple, soooo easy, and it is the respectful thing to do.
Thank you to the many responsible dog owners who pick up after their pooches. Let’s put a little pressure on the others who might be threatening our future trail use as well as the health of our community and waterways.
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