Pet Owners in South Texas

Irresponsible pet owners just don't scoop the poop

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25 News Now started watching dog owners in October and noticed too many people don’t scoop the poop.

Most responsible pet owners always scoop their pet’s poop, but even one dog owner dropping the ball can ruin someone’s day, and it doesn’t stop there.

25 News Now Reporter Howard Gordon has ‘Responsible Pet Owner’, a 25 News Now Extra.

There’s nothing worse in life than an itch that you can’t scratch, except for dog poop you step in.  But the pets are not to blame.

Elizabeth Drane/Project Leader for Riverside Bark: “I don’t think somebody should be able to just get a pet and expect to not take care of it.  Like I think it is just so irresponsible and it’s just so uncalled for.”

Poop is not only unsightly, but it smells.  No one wants to see and smell poop while hanging out at the pool or walking to get the mail.

David Gonzales/Director of the Victoria County Public Health Department: “Yeah, a lot of times it’s a new sense more than anything.  You know obviously, you know animals do carry disease so that’s always a concern there too.  But I mean it’s really just a new sense it’s unsanitary both for humans and animals.  So, it’s one thing we want to encourage folks just pick up after your pet.”

Besides being unsightly and smelly, it can be difficult to keep your own dog away from poop laying in the yard.

After a little research, we realized this concern reaches other levels.

Wayne Shaffer: “It creates a runoff issue for water quality.  The pet waste contains bacteria, and can increase dangers to swimmers, fish, wildlife, aquatic life because as it breaks down it depletes the oxygen and can release ammonia, which can lead to large fish kills.”

Dog owners have to worry about their pets getting ill and we should all worry about the possibility of contaminated water.

Wayne Shaffer/Port Lavaca Public Works Director: “Yeah if it’s not picked up it runs right into our watersheds.”

Elizabeth Drane/Project Leader for Riverside Bark: “Well, I personally consider myself a very responsible pet owner.  I care a lot about my animals.  And every animal for that.”

David Gonzales/ Director of the Victoria County Public Health Department: “Yeah, so it’s frustrating we understand that kind of makes our job challenging especially for animal control dealing with irresponsible pet owners because you know they are the ones that are causing the problems for the responsible public and those really that are really taking care of their dogs.  And you know they are cleaning up after them picking up after them.”

Many cities and residential properties place waste stations in high traffic areas.

Wayne Shaffer/Port Lavaca Public Works Director: “We in Public Works and say my Parks Department for example and many communities around the area have put up pet waste stations throughout the parks so that to encourage people to pick up their pet waste.”

Elizabeth Drane/Project Leader for Riverside Bark: “I feel a dog park would really give owners a chance to like be together with them and communicate with other people I mean even make friends and have their dogs be better at communication.”

Victoria County Animal Control Officers can issue citations to repeat offenders.

David Gonzales/ Director of the Victoria County Public Health Department: “If they’re repeat offenders then we absolutely have the option to issue a citation at that time.”

So far, no ‘Crime Stoppers’ like cash reward program for those who report the mess.

David Gonzales/Director of the Victoria County Public Health Department: Yeah, no, no cuts for reporting we don’t operate like that.”

It can be tough to catch a reckless dog walker.

David Gonzales/ Director of the Victoria County Public Health Department: “We can’t issue a citation without proof that they actually did do it.”

Required proof would be photographic or video evidence of an incident in action. Repeat offenders could face higher fines as citations pile up.

David Gonzales/Director of the Victoria County Public Health Department: “The code is now written for city code is it could be up to a $2,000 dollar fine.”

Bottom line, be a responsible pet owner, carry those plastic baggies on your dog walks and just scoop the poop.

Howard Gordon, KAVU-TV 25 News Now.

Poop bags can be found for as little as 4 cents each.  To report an irresponsible pet owner please call Animal Control at 361-578-3564