, Salem, MA

March 10, 2014

Dog waste: Not just annoying

The Salem News

---- — To the editor:

We read with interest Jonathan Phelps’ recent front-page article regarding dog poop and the Ipswich animal control officer’s proposal for DNA testing of dog waste in that community to identify dog owners who are not picking up after their pets (“DNA testing proposed for dog poop,” Feb 28). The Boston Globe picked up this story on the March 4 front page.

Both articles focus on the disgusting physical appearance of dog waste but neither makes any reference to health and water pollution issues caused by dog waste. Dog waste has twice as much bacteria as human waste; a 40-pound dog produces 7.8 billion fecal coliform per day. Rain washes the dog waste into storm drains, then to rivers and streams and the bacteria ends up polluting our beaches and ocean — negatively affecting sea life. Parasites, viruses and bacteria in dog waste can be transmitted to humans with severe health consequences.

Salem Sound Coastwatch and its participating Greenscapes communities of Beverly, Danvers, Marblehead, Peabody and Salem are working to educate our citizens by bringing the knowledge of dog waste pollution problems to the fore. We have produced a well-received “Scoop” card that is available at town clerk offices, libraries and veterinarians in participating communities, and at Salem Sound Coastwatch. For more information, contact Salem Sound Coastwatch at or call 978-741-7900 or visit

Barbara Warren

Executive director

Salem Sound Coastwatch