The Real Scoop on Pet Poop in Kane County, the Awful Truth About Offal … You Get the Idea
It’s against the law to leave your pet’s poop out where someone can step on it. Each municipality has its own ordinances and regulations about that, and while there are different variations and wording, they all say basically the same thing: Pick up after your pooch.
Elgin’s Ordinance 7.04.100, for example, makes it “PROHIBITED CONDUCT” to leave pet excrement lying around — and fair warning: You’d better be properly equipped if you’re walking your dog.
“Failure To Remove Excrement: It shall be unlawful for any person to fail to have in his immediate possession some means for the removal of animal excrement when causing a dog or other animal to be on the public right of way, on any property under the ownership or control of the city, or on any private property without the express consent of the owner or lawful occupant of the property.”
Kane County has similar regulations, so don’t think you’re exempt if you’re not within a municipal boundary. This from Chapter 15 (Nuisances and Property Maintenance) of the county code:
“Throwing Or Depositing Offal: To throw or deposit any offal or other offensive matter, or the carcass of any dead animal, in any watercourse, lake, pond, spring, well, sanitary sewer, storm sewer, easement, street or public highway.”
There are reasons for these rules and regulations. In additional to common courtesy, there’s an environmental impact. What follows is a brief note about Kane County Animal Control’s latest efforts to keep things clean as well as a little background on the topic, courtesy of the amazing and talented Cecilia Govrik of the Kane County Division of Environmental & Water Resources.
New Pet Waste Station at Animal Control
A brand new pet waste station was recently installed at Kane County Animal Control, courtesy of the Kane County Division of Environmental & Water Resources under the Clean Water for Kane and Sustain Kane programs. With a parking lot located about 300 feet from the Geneva walking and biking trail, the Animal Control facility is an ideal location for the public to park their cars when accessing the trail.
“Kane County Animal Control wants to ensure we keep the trails clean, safe and healthy for all pet lovers to use,” KCAC Administrator Brett Youngsteadt said. “Our building was lacking any outdoor trash receptacles for the public to use, so the addition of the pet waste station allows patrons easy access to bags and a waste bin, ensuring waste can be disposed of properly.”
Additionally, the Kane County Animal Control building will soon receive outdoor recycling stations through Kane County Recycles. These stations were installed at the Kane County Government Center in 2014, and have helped county staff and visitors to increase the recycling rate at that campus to an average of 36 percent.
Managing Pet Waste
There are about 78 million dogs in the United States, which can collectively produce more than 10 million tons of waste per year. Unless your dog is extra talented like the pooch pictured here, you are probably the one stuck with the less-than-exciting chore of scooping the poop.
If you take a walk along pretty much any public sidewalk or through any local park, you get an unfortunate reminder that there are plenty of irresponsible pet owners out there who don’t clean up after their dogs. The need to pick up after your pet goes beyond common courtesy — pet waste that is left on the ground contains bacteria, parasites and viruses that can wash into storm drains and end up in our local waterways.
For instance, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that only two days’ worth of waste from about 100 dogs would contribute enough pollution to close a beach, and all watershed areas within 20 miles of it.
In the United States, it is estimated that 44 percent of households own at least one dog, and the average dog excretes three-fourths of a pound of waste per day—or 274 pounds of waste per year!
Some people may think that leaving dog waste on the yard is “natural” or can be considered fertilizer, however most pet waste does not decompose quickly enough to be absorbed by the lawn before the rain washes it into the nearest storm drain or local waterway.
The EPA has reported that 95% of fecal coliform found in urban storm water is not of human origin. Waste from both dogs and geese can impact local water quality (whereas waste from wildlife like deer and coyotes is spread out over the land and not concentrated in certain areas like waste from pets).
4 Rules to Live By
You can help protect water quality by following these basic rules when it comes to disposing of pet waste:
(1) Dispose of it promptly and properly
- Whether in your own yard or out on a walk, promptly pick up your pet’s waste and dispose of it in a trash can.
(2) Pick up before lawn watering
- Pick up after your pets before watering your yard or cleaning off patios or driveways. Don’t use a hose to clean pet waste off driveways or sidewalks.
(3) Share the message
- When at a dog park or talking with other dog owners, spread the word about the positive impact picking up after your pet can have on water quality.
(4) Don’t treat ducks or geese as pets
- Feeding ducks and geese may seem harmless, but it’s actually detrimental to both the waterfowl and our waterways. Feeding the birds makes them overly dependent on humans, creating unnaturally high populations with more risk of disease. Excessive waterfowl waste can pollute our water with harmful bacteria.
Learn more about the proper management of pet waste at www.clearchoicescleanwater.org.
About the Kane County Division of Environmental & Water Resources
The Kane County Division of Environmental & Water Resources develops, evaluates, and implements programs to protect the health, safety and welfare of our residents and the environment. These programs include the countywide Stormwater Management program, the Kane County Recycles recycling and waste recovery programs, the electric aggregation program, the Sustain Kane program, and other resource conservation and environmental projects.