Spring thaw reveals dog wasteEvery year when the snow starts melting, the phone in Chris Wagner’s office starts ringing. “I get a lot of calls about animal waste and clean-up,” said Wagner, community service officer for the Superior Police Department. As ice and snow melt away, piles of feces are left behind. In some yards, the waste takes over.
By: Forum Communications Co. Report, The Jamestown Sun
SUPERIOR, Wis. — Every year when the snow starts melting, the phone in Chris Wagner’s office starts ringing.
“I get a lot of calls about animal waste and clean-up,” said Wagner, community service officer for the Superior Police Department. As ice and snow melt away, piles of feces are left behind. In some yards, the waste takes over.
“It’s a lot, not just five piles,” Wagner said. “It’s a winter’s worth.”
When she gets the calls, Wagner drives by to take a look. If the waste in the yard is excessive, she sends a warning letter. Those who choose to ignore the letter and let the feces build up can expect a visit from Wagner and, possibly a $169 fine.
“Clean it up,” Wagner said. “Don’t wait for me to get out there.”
Leaving feces in the yard smells bad and is a neighborhood nuisance. It can also be a health hazard. Last spring, concerns over possible contamination from dog feces closed down the playground at Superior’s Northern Lights Elementary School.
Pet waste sends bacteria into storm drains, streams and groundwater. It steals oxygen from the water and contributes to algae growth. It can even make water unsafe for drinking, swimming, boating and fishing, according to the Water Environment Federation.
Dogs aren’t the only culprits. Some gardeners get a rude surprise when they start spring planting; they find cat feces that have been there since the fall.
The key to keeping yards clean is daily maintenance, Wagner said. She owns a dog, and said it is much easier to pick up the waste during the winter when it’s frozen than to let it build up until spring.
In addition, those who take their dogs for a walk are responsible for picking up any waste that is deposited. If they don’t, they too could face a fine.
Animal complaints can be called in to the Superior Police Department at (715) 395-7234. If you are making a complaint about a homeowner or yard, Wagner said, she needs an exact address.
The Superior (Wis.) Telegram is owned by Forum