Park Officials Remind Pet Owners to “Pick Up Poop”

Piles of Poop Left Behind Causes Concerns from Park Officials, City Staff

DULUTH, Minn. – It’s warm, squishy, and it stinks. We’re talking poop.

Chances are you’re guilty once or twice of watching your pet poo, and walking away in a public place.

But it’s now becoming a problem within the Twin Ports, one pile leading to hundreds if not thousands left unattended.

“No one wants to walk in poop when they’re walking on the trail, no one wants to see it or smell it,” said Matt Willey, Director of Operations at Hartley Nature Center in Duluth.

All pets do it; number one and number two.

“We get numerous people coming in every week asking us about the poop problem and what can be done about it,” said Willey.

It’s a common concern from users of the Center.

“Hartley seems to be sort of an epicenter,” said Willey.

Staff at the Center is forced to find time to deal with the ongoing issue of pet owners forgetting to pick up piles of poop.

“People do want to make the argument that it’s natural and it’s just going to go away but that poop has to go somewhere,” said Willey.

Willey likes to scientifically disprove this theory.

“It’s natural but not in the sense the same way that coyotes scat or wolf scat would be. We feed them different diets, it’s not a natural diet and dog waste is loaded with E.coli and other bacteria that get washed into the water system,” said Willey.

City staff shares a common concern.

“If you don’t pick it up, it doesn’t just go away,” said Todd Carlson, Program Coordinator for the City of Duluth.

“I see a lot of piles. I was here recently mountain biking and noticed on my ride 62 piles of poop,” said Carlson.

Carlson wants to educate pet owners on the dangers of leaving dog doo in the dust.

“That poop is going to end up getting into our local waters, it carries bacteria and parasites with it and those of us that use the streams in the summer can certainly have a harmful impact if we do encounter that bacteria,” said Carlson.

Drinking water is at little to no risk, but he says the piles can and will put a damper on different recreational activities.

“It’s a responsibility if we’re going to have a pet we need to look after them and part of that is picking up after them,” said Carlson. “You’re taking an experience away from the next user.”

Common courtesy of picking up, one that can greatly make an impact on the land we call home.

“There’s not a lot we can do other than encourage the public to pick up after your pet,” said Carlson.

During the Spring of 2019, the City of Duluth kicked off a “No Poop Fairy” campaign, which Willey says did make a temporary impact, at least at Hartley Nature Center.

Pet waste bags are located in all Duluth parks, along with garbage cans to dispose of waste.

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