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Rant & Rave


Thursday, May 10, 2001

Public safety requires
diligent poop scooping
by dog owners

While walking down the street with your friends you suddenly feel a squish. At first you think it's just mud, so you keep walking, but then the smell hits you and your friends and they start saying things like, "Eewww! Who's the one who just got lucky?"

Then the worst part happens. They start checking out their shoes and while they're doing this, you start rubbing your shoe on the grass to hide your so-called "good luck."

What I am trying to say is that people should pick up their dogs' poo, not only because it's disgusting to step on, but it also is a health hazard to humans and other animals.

You're probably wondering, "how can dog poo be hazardous?"

Well, it may contain E. coli and roundworm that pose the threat of anything from a little queasiness to serious longterm illness. E. coli is a bacteria that can result in symptoms as mild as a sore throat, a stomachache and diarrhea; to illnesses that can result in death. The bacteria is found in the feces of animals. If you step in dog poo, you can be directly exposed to E. coli, or if owners don't pick up after their dogs, the poo may dissolve into the ground when it rains and may contaminate our water system.

Roundworms are parasites that live in the intestines. Their eggs enter the environment through dog feces and can remain in the soil for several years. This is bad for children who play in the dirt and grass and then put their dirty hands in their mouths.

Even if you don't catch E. coli or roundworms, just think how our island would look if no one picked up their dog's poo. For example, there are five dogs on my street. If each dog pooped two times a day, that would add up to 10 piles of poo on the ground. In one month there would be about 310 piles of poo. In a year, there would be 3,650 piles of poo in my neighborhood. Can you imagine how disgusting and how much of a health hazard that would be?

Don't forget the lovely fragrance and the appearance of flies. Dog poo provides a great nursery for maggots.

When I take my dog out for a walk and she decides it's potty time, it's very tempting to leave her mess out on the sidewalk, especially if no one is looking. And even though it's always funny when someone -- other than me -- steps in it, I know it is inconsiderate and irresponsible to leave the poo on the ground. So all you dog owners, hold your breath and with one quick scoop be all you can be. It makes a difference.

Joel Ching is a 7th grader
at Punahou School.

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