It’s a part of pet ownership most are not fond of: scooping up poop.
As part of the city of Sumner’s role to keep trails, parks, roads and streets clean, that often comes with the unnecessary task of cleaning up pet waste. Not only is it a task most city workers would prefer to avoid, pet waste left behind can eventually make its way to local rivers, streams and even the Puget Sound via stormwater.
In an effort to help keep not only local water sources clean, but to beautify parks and other city properties, the city of Sumner as launched a campaign entitled “Call of Dooty.”
The play on words is an effort to get citizens and visitors alike to do their duty and pick up after their pets.
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“There’s been a slight uptick of pet waste left behind,” said Carmen Palmer, communications director for the city. “We acknowledge that it’s not pleasant but it has to be done. It is your duty to pick up after your pet.”
While not scooping pet waste has environmental implications, leaving feces behind could also mean a $257 fine.
“The goal is not to fine people, but to educate,” Palmer said. “The fine is just a penalty, but dirty water is something that we all have to deal with.”
With nearly everyone having a camera on their cell phone, the risk of eventually being caught increases substantially.
“The goal is to have people to follow the law,” Palmer said.
Sumner Veterinary Hospital has stepped up along with the city to launch the Call of Dooty campaign, and has created signs for citizens to stick in their yard which say “Dooty Free Zone.”
“It’s something we practice, and want our customers to follow as well,” said Mike Lynch, Sumner Veterinary Hospital practice manager. “It’s something we want to support as a business.”
“It’s a win-win for us,” said Mark Bachmann, the hospital’s facility manager. “We’re helping the environment and our community.”
Palmer says the signs are a way for homeowners to show their commitment to keeping their own pet’s waste off their lawns.
While most assume leaving pet waste behind on their own property is safe, Palmer says that is no excuse.
“Rain washes it into rivers and Puget Sound through storm water,” she said. “It sends the pet waste right into Puget Sound. Even though we can’t see Puget Sound from Sumner, it is our responsibility to keep it clean.”
The Call of Dooty signs can be picked up at the Sumner Veterinary Hospital, located at 16024 60th Street East in Sumner.