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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. Flush It! 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.
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