Montgomery County, Maryland Dog Resource Guide
Local Laws and Ordinances that Affect Dog Owners
The Montgomery County, MD Pooper Scooper Code states that dog owners are
responsible for removing dog waste from public areas.
Pet Waste: Know Your Pooper-Scooper Law
Pet waste left to decay on sidewalks, lawns, or common areas is a stinky mess! Rain and
melting snow can wash feces into stormdrains, which flow directly into streams or ponds
and cause a host of water quality problems. It’s not only a filthy situation, it’s also
unhealthy for people and the environment. Pet waste can contain bacteria and parasites
that severely sicken people, pets, and wildlife. And picking up after your pet is the law
[Chapter 5-203(a)], with a $100 fine for non-compliance, applicable to both cats AND
dogs! It's a law with which it's easy to comply: just bring along a plastic bag when you
walk your dog.
You Can Make A Difference
First, decrease the fecal volume substantially by feeding a premium kibble which states
on the bag that its high digestibility will reduce stool volume. Then it's easy to keep your
pet from polluting both land and water. The job of cleaning up after your pet is as simple
as taking along a plastic bag or pooper-scooper on your next pet walk. What should you
do with the waste you pick up? Here are the choices:
Pick It Up!
The easiest of all is to use a plastic bag, such as a produce or newspaper bag, and then
place that bag into your regular outgoing household trash can. Because people now
recognize the responsibility of removing all pet waste, the market has responded with
many clever, inexpensive, and small bag mechanisms to make it easy and hands-free.
Some are tiny bags which fit into a pocket or clip onto the pet’s collar or leash, or onto
your belt. There are dozens of easy ways to comply with the law.
It is also easy to use a pooper-scooper. Many models are available from pet stores and
catalogs. Most have long handles which prevent bending down, and many have
retractable handles for the remainder of the walk home. Once home, put the excrement
into a plastic bag and then into another bag for placement in your regular household trash.
Double Bag It!
Pet waste must never be disposed of in an exposed manner in a trash can. Instead, it must
be double-bagged (e.g., the small bag containing the waste must be placed inside of a
larger bag or trash can liner), to protect trash collectors from germs. Another option is to
install an underground pet waste digester that works like a small septic tank. These are
also available at pet stores and through catalogs. However, they must be installed and
sited properly in order to prevent attracting rodents and other pests, and to prevent
bacteria from leaking into groundwater. Be careful to place the unit 100 feet from any
well, whether a neighbor’s or your own.
For small-volume waste, this is an option. However, it is the least preferred approach
because of increased water usage, and of the likelihood of other debris such as rocks,
sticks, or cat litter getting into household plumbing and creating blockage problems.
However, for cats or very small dogs, this is a viable option and can work nicely for some
pet owners. A benefit is that the water from your toilet goes to a septic system or sewage
treatment plant that treats your pet’s pollution before reaching a lake or stream.
Reminder: be sure to separate commercial cat litter before flushing. The litter should be
bagged and disposed in the regular household container.
It's the pet owner’s responsibility to leave no trace of his pet for others to step in or to
foul sidewalks and gardens. Most of all – it’s the law!
Pet Waste & Water Quality
Pet waste left to decay on sidewalks, lawns, or common areas is unhealthy for people
and the environment. Rain can wash waste into stormdrains and streams making them
unsafe. Pet waste frequently contains bacteria and parasites which can severely sicken
people, pets, and wildlife. Nutrients in animal waste can cause algae blooms, cloudy
water, and fish kills. This link provides a downloadable pdf file from University of
Maryland Cooperative Extension Service.