Dog waste piles up in Ingleside Park

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From left, Randi and Reagan Bodish have grown tired of the dog waste problem in the park. The sisters have collected over 30 bags of dog waste more than once! (Photo submitted)

By Caroline Rosacker

Owning a dog can be a very rewarding experience. It is estimated that there are more than 77 million dogs living in the United States. The average pooch deposits approximately three-quarters of a pound of waste each day. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that just 2-3 days worth of waste from 100 dogs can contribute enough bacteria to temporarily close a watershed area to swimming or fishing within 20 miles. 

Pet waste carries a number of bacteria, parasites and other diseases. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) these offenders can be transmitted to humans. Dog droppings can transmit different varieties of worms that can affect adults and especially children. 

Campylobacter bacteria, E. coli, parvo virus and salmonella can also be found in dog waste. Campylobacteria can cause life-threatening infections in infants, older persons and people with weakened immune systems. 

Dog waste is often a leading food source for rats, drawing rodents to urban areas. Rat urine and feces have been linked to a number of diseases that can be easily transferred to humans such as leptospirosis, typhus and salmonellosis. 

Sisters Reagan and Randi Bodish of Guttenberg have grown tired of the dog waste problem in Ingleside Park and have decided to take matters into their own hands. 

Randi, owner of two dogs herself (K.C. and Helen), told The Press, "The dog waste problem in the park has always been a nuisance, but I believe this year it has gotten worse." 

Reagan commented, "I do not own a dog but often take my sister's dogs for a walk. I have my own apartment and noticed somebody started leaving dog waste in my yard." 

They noted, "It is disgusting to see it lying around on the ground of our beautiful park. It is also a mess to clean off the bottom of your shoe." 

Randi laughed, "I must be like a magnet to a pile of dog waste because I end up stepping in it all the time. It takes at least ten minutes to get it cleaned off the bottom of my walking shoes."

The civic-minded young women are on a mission to scoop up the mess and keep the area in the 600 block of South River Park Drive free of dog excrement. 

They noted, "Many people utilize that section of the park for eating a carry-out pizza or enjoying an ice cream cone. The area provides a perfect spot to sit on a bench and look at the river." 

Reagan commented, "It's very frustrating because there are dog waste bags on a pole and a garbage can available in that area. It doesn't make sense." 

Randi added, "We decided to clean up the area ourselves. We picked up over 30 bags of dog waste! More than once!" 

Mayor Bill Frommelt remarked, "Thank you for addressing this issue. I want to commend the volunteers that have to pick up after others. Pet waste can transmit diseases to other pets requiring veterinary treatment and antibiotic drugs, which can be very expensive. This is in addition to the mess on someone's shoes or the spread of disease to humans. At the least, this is inconsiderate of pet owners."

Frommelt noted, "We have dog waste bags in the park across from Joe's Pizza, by the south marina, as well as by the Veterans Memorial and two blocks north of the school. If there are additional locations that require waste bags I would encourage residents to call the city office and let us know."

Mayor Frommelt added, "The City of Guttenberg does have an ordinance that requires owners to pick up pet waste. I would encourage residents to notify the police department (252-3333) to report the violator's name. Offenders can be issued a citation if the officer feels it is warranted, especially for repeat offenders."

It is not only required by most laws, it is also a dog owner's civic "doody" to clean up after their pet. Leaving dog waste behind is starting to have a negative impact on our community. 

City Manager Denise Schnieder explained, "There is an ordinance about cleaning up after pets (see below).  If people are caught leaving waste behind they can be fined.  We cannot do anything unless we know who is doing it, then the police can go speak with them."

55.08 ANNOYANCE OR DISTURBANCE.  It is unlawful for the owner of a dog to allow or permit such dog to cause serious annoyance or disturbance to any person by frequent and habitual howling, yelping, barking, or otherwise, or by running after or chasing persons, bicycles, automobiles or other vehicles.  It shall be unlawful for any owner, keeper or walker of any dog, cat or other animal to permit said dog, cat or other animal to discharge said animal’s feces upon any public or private property, other than the property of the owner of the dog, cat or other animal, within the City if such owner, keeper or walker does not immediately thereafter remove and clean up said animal’s feces from the public or private property.

Give a hoot! Don't pollute! Scoop up your dog's poop!

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