There are millions of dogs in the United States, and each individual dog provides their owners with unconditional love and companionship. Unfortunately, these dogs also provide owners with the unwanted burden of pet waste!
Many pet owners are unaware of the dangers of pet waste in their yards and communities. The truth is that the waste our pets leave behind poses numerous hazards to humans, the environment, our lawn, and plants.
Dog feces harbor a variety of harmful bacteria and viruses such as salmonellosis, tapeworms, parvo, and more! Since bacteria and viruses can linger in soil, they are easily transferred into the home via contact by a dog or human. A single gram of dog feces (about the size of a dime) contains about 23 million fecal coliform bacteria, which can cause serious kidney disorders, stomach cramps, diarrhea, and intestinal illnesses.
Pet waste also attracts rodents and vermin to your yard, park, playground, or community common areas, and these pests use the waste as their primary food source. These animals carry a variety of diseases and also bring fleas and ticks into your grass, which can then take up residence on your pets.
Left unchecked, pet waste will inhibit growth and eventually kill lawn and plants. Animal waste also adds nitrogen to water, and excess nitrogen depletes the oxygen in water necessary for beneficial underwater grasses, fish, and wildlife. If left uncollected or improperly disposed of, pet waste filters into our groundwater, waterways, lakes, etc. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) deems pet waste as a “nonpoint source of pollution”, putting it in the same category as oil and toxic chemicals!
Despite HOA regulations and looks of disapproval from passersby, some homeowners just don’t clean up after their pets.
If your neighborhood suffers from constant “gifts” from man’s best friend, here are four ideas to help you and your board minimize the problem:
- Adopt a community policy on pet waste. Construct clear and simple guidelines and distribute them to the community. Post signs that remind pet owners to clean up after their pets.
- Send out reminders. Sometimes all it takes is a reminder from the board to get homeowners to adjust their behavior. Point out the health hazards associated with fecal matter. No one wants their children or their pets getting sick!
- Consider hiring a professional cleaning service. Some communities are not only full of dogs, but have ducks or geese, as well. In this case, consider hiring a professional service to clean up animal waste. This is a good idea especially if the animals leaving the unwanted waste don’t necessarily belong to any particular owner.
- Collaborate! Make it easy for homeowners to take care of their dog’s business. Consider providing waste bags and trash receptacles to make clean up easier for dog owners. Simple conveniences are the quickest, easiest solutions to problems such as this.
We hope these ideas help you get the cleanup process moving along quickly. Make sure your HOA has a policy in place that expressly states expectations pertaining to pet ownership and responsibility. Encourage all pet owners to be responsible and to clean up after their pet every time! For more help managing your HOA community contact SpectrumAM for a free quote.