New York v. Miami
Dog poop is something all dog owners think about. And since dogs poop pretty much every day, it’s something we think about pretty much every day. In urban environments like New York City and Miami, we do more than think about it, we have to pick it up and dispose of it, meaning we have to feel it and sometimes get a whiff of it. It’s not pretty, but it’s big part of owning a dog.
Here are some facts about dog poop:
♦ There are roughly 80 million dogs in the United States, who, every day deposit approximately 30,000 tons of poop.
♦ That’s about 10 million tons of poop every year.
♦ According to waste disposal company, DoodyCalls, 100 dogs, pooping for two or three days, can contaminate a local watershed for up to 20 miles, closing waters to swimming and shellfishing. (I’ve read that in Miami Beach that dog poop is one of the major sources of watershed contamination.)
Dog excrement is what the Environmental Protection Agency calls a “nonpoint source pollutant.” That means it’s a pollutant that can come from many different, difuse sources, rather than a single point of origin, like an open sewer line or a factory.
The EPA says that puts dog feces in the same category of pollutants as:
- Excess fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides from agricultural lands and residential areas
- Oil, grease and toxic chemicals from urban runoff and energy production
- Sediment from improperly managed construction sites, crop and forest lands, and eroding streambanks
- Salt from irrigation practices and acid drainage from abandoned mines
- Bacteria and nutrients from livestock, pet wastes and faulty septic systems
- Atmospheric deposition and hydromodification
That sounds pretty serious, no?
It gets worse. Dog poop can transmit a host of parasites and bacteria that can make humans sick, including roundworms, heart worms, whipworms, hookworms, tapeworms, parvovirus, giardia, salmonella, and e. coli. You simply can’t regard your dog’s poop as a “natural fertilizer.” Because of the health hazards, municipalities, including New York City and Miami-Dade County, have laws about dog poop. New York City was on the forefront of this type of legislation with its “Pooper Scooper Law” dating back to the 1970s.
[New York] City enforces the Pooper Scooper Law and accepts reports of places where dog walkers regularly fail to pick up after their dogs. These locations include streets, sidewalks, and other areas such as open front yards next to the public sidewalk. A City agent must see the crime taking place in order to give a ticket. The Pooper Scooper Law does not apply to guide dogs or service dogs walking with people who have disabilities.
New York City also requires property owners to pick up dog excrement on their property whether they own the offending pet or not. Miami-Dade County has similar laws:
It shall be unlawful for a responsible party to allow, whether willfully or through failure to exercise due care or control, a dog to commit any nuisance upon: the sidewalk of any public street; the floor of any common hall in any apartment house, hotel, or other multi-family dwelling; or any entranceway, stairway or wall immediately abutting on a public sidewalk; or the floor of any theatre, shop, store, office building or other building used in common by the public. “Nuisance,” for the purposes of this section, shall be defined as defecation and/or public urination. If a dog defecates on the grassy swale of a public right-of-way or other such public property, or on private property without the express or implied consent of the property owner, the responsible party shall remove the defecation and deposit it in an appropriate trash receptacle, sanitary disposal unit, or other sealed container.
You can read more here at the Miami-Dade government website. In many Miami Beach neighborhoods you’ll find convenient poop bag dispensers.
And this is the moment I am going to go on a bit of an editorial rant. We recently moved to Miami Beach from New York City. One of the things that has struck me is the amount of dog poop you find on sidewalks, park grounds, and in other public places. It’s pretty disgusting. It’s gotten to the point where we are unwilling to walk on public grassy areas. And what is particularly galling is the brazen disregard people have for the law. I totally understand that you might be caught without a poop bag if your dog has a bowel movement you weren’t expecting. But even when that happens to me I still look for something, anything I can use to pick up his excrement: a coffee cup… a leaf… a newspaper. Many Miamians can’t seem to be bothered. Not only that, when they do have access to FREE poop bags, they don’t use them. Take a look at the picture below. Whoever owned the dog that left that deposit had to walk approximately three feet to get a poop bag. And what you can’t see is the off-camera garbage can about two feet away. What exactly prevented that dog owner from picking up their dogs’ mess?
And trust me, this is not an isolated example. I have TONS of photographic evidence of this. I could show many photos of dog poop just a few feet away from poop bag dispensers and garbage cans. I simply elected not to include the pics in this story.
End of rant.
Bottom line — ha! — make sure you pick it up and throw it away.
For more differences between Miami and New York, click here.