Austin Pets Alive! | Do Your Duty

Jan 30, 2024
Austin loves dogs! Over 250,000 dogs live in the city. On average, dogs produce half a pound of waste a day. It adds up quickly: over 150,000 pounds daily, 54,750,000 pounds a year! Yuck!
Pet waste poses a significant health risk to pets and people, especially children, encountering it while playing. Dog waste contains dangerous bacteria, like salmonella and E. Coli, and harmful parasites, like giardia and roundworms. These hazardous organisms persist in the pet waste for days or months after deposit. According to the CDC, roundworms can live in lawns and playgrounds for weeks or even years.
Dormant pet waste is a significant environmental liability as well. Carried by rain or irrigation systems, pet waste left on trails, sidewalks, and grassy areas washes into waterways, directly or through storm drains. It takes only one teaspoon of dog feces in a water body the size of an Olympic pool to make water unsafe for swimming. Pet waste washed into our lakes and creeks can also contribute to the growth of aquatic weeds and algae, eventually causing reduced oxygen levels in the water that harm or kill aquatic animals. Bagged pet waste left on the ground or tied to a tree is double the litter and double the trouble.
It is illegal to not pick up after your pet. Austin City Code 3-4-6 carries a potential fine of up to $500. The code is a helpful deterrent but is hard to enforce because it requires a law officer to witness the offense.
The Scoop The Poop program has made it easier for pet owners to be stewards of their city. They purchase pet waste bags, dispensers, educational Scoop the Poop signs, mountable trash cans, and can liners for the Parks and Recreation Department to install and maintain in City parks. They provide these supplies so that pet caretakers in the parks who forgot to bring their own bags will have access to bags to pick up pet waste. Last year, they provided 1,836,000 bags for Austin’s parks, potentially keeping 918,000 pounds of waste off the ground and out of the water. You can order a laminated Scoop The Poop sign for your yard or educational brochures at
Scooping the Poop results in cleaner creeks, streets, and feet! A clean environment increases the enjoyment of public areas and protects our City’s water quality. Educating pet owners and facilitating the proper disposal of pet waste is integral to preserving Austin’s public health, recreational opportunities, and precious water resources. Do Your Dooty and Scoop It, Bag It, Toss It – Every Stinking Time!

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