It’s no secret that folks in Buncombe County love their pooches like family members. Our parks and trails are on a long list of pet-friendly spots to take your well-behaved canine pals (with owner on a leash, of course). However, as warmer days come to the mountains, we begin to see pointless poo-llution along trails, riverbanks, and other unwelcome spots. “Doo” the right thing and scoop your poop if nature calls and your dog answers.
Why is this important? Well, we’re glad we asked that question!
- Common Courtesy: No matter how easy-going someone may be, stepping in a steaming — or hardened — pile is never welcome. Even the sight or smell of a grumpy dumpy is enough to ruin someone’s special time in nature. Parks are shared public spaces and neighbors expect pet owners to clean up after their companion animals.
- It’s Toxic: Some owners think that poop is natural fertilizer, but not all piles of poop are created equal. For example, cow manure has a different make up from dog waste because the bovine animal is an herbivore and the latter is an omnivore. Doggie doo is so high in nitrogen and phosphorus that it actually has the opposite effect of fertilizer, killing grass and polluting the soil.
- Really, Really Toxic: Seriously, the Environmental Protection Agency has classified dog poop in the same category as chemical and oil spills for at least two decades. Pet waste carries bacteria, viruses, pathogens, and parasites that can threaten the health of children, adults, wildlife, and other pets. Dog poop doesn’t just wash away or disappear. It ends up in rivers, lakes, and watersheds — places used for recreation and drinking water.
- It’s the Law: A dog permitted to defecate in public without prompt pickup of solid waste can lead to a $50 citation in Buncombe County.
Before you head out, make sure you’ve got multiple poop bags. We keep them stocked at larger parks such as Buncombe County Sports Park, Charles D. Owen, and Lake Julian, but they run out during high visitation periods. Once at home, throw out waste using a biodegradable bag or flush it down the toilet. Never throw pet waste into a compost bin.
While most community members pick up after their pets in public spaces, it’s also a good idea to pick up after them at home for the same reasons listed above. Even if it seems like rain has washed away a doggie dump, it can take up to a year to naturally break down and the bacteria will linger in your soil for several more years.
Poop happens, but it’s important to be a responsible pet owner and “doo” your part. Scoop that poop!
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