Picking up dog poop is gross. But stepping in it is worse. Swimming or fishing in poop-infested waters is even worse. Picking up your pet’s poop helps the environment and that’s the message behind the City of Valparaiso’s “Scoop the Poop Program,” launched the spring of 2013. “Pet waste is an environmental pollutant which contributes to bacterial and nutrients contamination of our waterways. By educating pet owners, we can help reduce contamination,” said Mingyan Zhou, the city’s Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Coordinator.
The Scoop the Poop Program is offering free pet waste bag dispensers to Valparaiso City residents. The refillable dispensers attach to a pet’s leash and carry biodegradable baggies for picking up pet waste. Since the start of the program, more than 800 dispensers have been given away. The city has purchased more dispensers, and they are currently available at City Utilities office at 205 Billings St, and City Hall at 166 Lincolnway. The city encourages each dog owner to receive only one dispenser, and purchase the refillable bags from pet stores once the bags in the dispenser are used up.
Zhou wants pet owners to know some basic facts about pet waste:
Pet waste should be disposed of in the trash, enclosed in a sealed or tied plastic bag.
It’s unlawful to leave your pet’s waste anywhere outside of the owner’s real property limits, per the Unified Development Ordinance.
Never dispose of pet waste in a catch basin, storm drain, or on the street.
Don’t use pet waste as a fertilizer as the bacteria does far more harm than good.
Don’t add pet waste to a compost pile, as the pile will not get hot enough to kill disease-causing organisms.