City Reminds Dog Owners to Keep Their Pets on a Leash & Clean up after Them

Posted on Thursday Jun 09, 2011

dogs.jpgWith the warmer weather now here, dog owners are more likely to take their pets out into the public. Residents are reminded that not only must their dogs be leashed (Ord 9-4-7 of the City Code), but they also are required under the law to pick-up after them (Ord 9-4-12). Nobody likes to step in dog waste!

City Code 9-4-7 requires that dogs must be leashed in public and they are not allowed to run loose in public parks or on the majority of the city’s beaches. If you wish to allow your dog to run off leash, you may purchase an annual membership to Pooch Park or the Evanston Dog Beach.

City Code 9-4-12 requires dog owners to pick-up their dog’s waste from public or private property and should have with them something with which to properly dispose of the waste. Dog waste can spread disease and it’s bad for the environment. Dog feces may contain various organisms and parasites such as E. coli, tapeworm, and roundworm. They can all make people really sick. Small children are especially vulnerable so it's really important to clean it up!

Common symptoms are diarrhea, abdominal cramping, bloody stool, vomiting, and dehydration. A lot of times the only treatments for these conditions are re-hydration and letting the infection run its full course. People can also contract these illnesses through drinking water that has been contaminated by feces. If the dog waste is not regularly cleaned up it can seep into the water system.

Contact with the feces of a sick pet can also make your pets sick. Additionally, because of the high levels of nitrogen in dog feces it is not a good fertilizer and is NOT good for your lawn or garden. The number one preventative measure that can be taken against dog feces oriented disease is using a dog poop bag to clean up after your pet. These dog poop bag dispensers are graciously placed in parks, apartment complexes, and other locations for your convenience and everyone's safety. We chose to highlight this public health concern because it is so often overlooked but it can have a significant impact on the health of our community and children.

For example, puppies may pass the bacterium Campylobacter in their feces (stool). This germ can cause diarrhea in people. Puppies and some adult dogs often carry a variety of parasites that can cause rashes or illness in people. Less often, dogs in urban or rural areas can carry the bacterium Leptospira (lep-TO-spy-ruh). This germ causes the disease leptospirosis (lep-to-spi-roh-sis) in people and animals. Dogs can also carry rabies, a deadly viral disease although rabies from dogs is rare in the United States.

The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirms pet waste can spread parasites including hookworms, ringworms, tapeworms and Salmonella. When infected dog poop comes into contact with your lawn, the poop will eventually "disappear", but the parasite eggs can linger for years! When a human or animal comes into contact with that soil through everyday activities like walking barefoot, gardening or playing, they risk infection from those eggs even years after the poop is gone.

The Evanston Health Department reminds all residents to “scoop the poop”, please pick up after your pets! If you would like more information please visit http://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/animals/dogs.htm.