Harmful organisms that can be transmitted from pet waste to children and adults can persist for on the ground for weeks, months, even years. Round worm eggs, for one, which infect an estimated 14% of Americans, do just fine on the ground for up to three years and are easily picked up on shoes, paws or feet, including barefoot humans. If bacteria are on the grass, they'll can easily hitch a ride into your house. A 2008 study by the University of Arizona found up to 99% of fecal pathogens transfer easily onto clean floors inside the home via shoes. Fecal coliform and other bacteria found in dog waste can make people sick, leading to breathing problems, diarrhea, blindness and worse. Some of the diseases that can be spread to humans from pet waste include,
- Campylobacteriosis (a bacterial infection frequently causing diarrhea in humans)
- Salmonellosis (the most common bacterial infection transmitted to humans -- symptoms include fever, muscle aches, headache, vomiting, and diarrhea)
- Toxocarisis (roundworms transmitted from animals to humans. Symptoms include vision loss, rash, fever, or cough)
- Fecal coliform causes dysentery, hepatitis, typhoid fever and ear infections
- Roundworm, giardiasis, tuberculosis, gastroenteritis and cryptosporidiosis
- Cysticercosis which is a disease of humans involving larval tapeworms in the human body
With 1.2 million dogs in the greater Dallas, Texas area, that’s the sewage equivalent of a city almost as large as Dallas with no toilets. DFW dogs produce some 900,000 pounds of sewage per day which contaminating the environment, especially groundwater, area lakes and the Trinity River.
Volunteers from Texas Stream Team working with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) conduct monthly tests to monitor water quality of the White Rock Lake watershed which feeds directly into the Trinity. TCEQ standards for water quality include a maximum of 126 colony forming units (CFUs) of E. Coli bacteria which come from warm-blooded animals such as humans, dogs, and coyotes. Some of the prime tributaries feeding the lake include White Rock Creek, Skillman Branch Creek, Williamson Creek, and the Dixon Branch Creek. All of them are toxic with E. Coli.
Dog waste is not “fertilizer”
Some people assume dog waste is okay for composting but the EPA says NO! unless you like flowers and vegetables impreganated with toxic bacteria. Eating a tomato with fecal bacteria inside of it is about the same as sprinkling dog waste in your cereal = not recommended. Composting does not kill the smorgasbord of harmful pathogens in dog waste that attack humans and pets. Fecal coliform bacteria are just one of a whole suite of pathogens that can thrive in a compost pile and wind up inside "bacteria-bomb" vegetables!
Ignoring the above-ground sewage in your backyard is going the way of bloodletting and other harmful practices held over from darker, less enlightened times. A waste treatment facility or landfill is set up to contain fecal matter. Your backyard is not. Watch this short video demonstration to learn more.