Problem Solver - August 2015
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Problem Solver Questions & Answers

Make Your Site Pet- and People-Friendlier

There are millions of pet owners across the country, and most likely they are visiting your parks and trails along with their furry friends. Unsightly and smelly dog waste can be a big problem, but you can encourage pet owners to clean up with the right solution, which will make your park or trail both pet- and people-friendly.

Q: Pet owners love to use our park to play with their dogs, but they don't always clean up after them. What can we do?

A: You can make it easy for pet owners to clean up by placing pet stations in convenient locations. These stations provide everything owners need to clean up after their dogs, helping to keep your park or trail free from dog waste. With signage to provide a visual reminder, dog owners will get the message that they need to be responsible and help keep things clean.

You also should post the rules for your park or site in a central location, such as the entrance, and be sure to emphasize rules associated with pets, including leash and cleanup requirements. In addition, be sure to have uniformed staff members visit the park on a regular basis. A physical presence will let pet owners know that you're supervising, and also will give you the opportunity to explain the rules to those who turn their backs when their pup makes a deposit.

Q: We want to educate our patrons and let them know why it's so important to clean up. What can we tell them?

A: No one likes to see—or smell—dog waste at their favorite park or trail. But it's not just an aesthetic problem. Pet waste can pose a safety hazard as well. Dog droppings might contain dangerous bacteria and viruses, which can get into groundwater. Recent studies rank dogs as third or fourth on a list of bacteria contributions in contaminated waters. But even if the bacteria weren't reaching the water supply, the presence of dog waste poses a health hazard for the people and pets who play at your site.

Because of these issues, most communities have ordinances in place requiring pet owners to clean up after their dogs, with fines issued for non-compliance.



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