artist Monique Akar
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Are you risking your health?

When pet waste is left on the ground or disposed of improperly, water quality in our creeks,
waterways  and at our beaches suffers. How do pets affect these waters? Your pet's waste carries
bacteria, viruses and parasites that can enter the water and increase the level of bacteria
detected. In particular, fecal coliform bacteria which is found in the feces of warmblooded animals.
When it rains, dog waste that has not been picked up is washed from yards into the storm drains.
This untreated water flows directly into local watersheds. In SE Michigan that would be the Rouge
River Watershed. Properly cleaning up after your pet can lessen the likelihood of your pet's waste
entering the watershed.

In addition, your health may be at risk too if pet waste is left on the ground in your yard. Pets,
children who play outside, and adults who garden, are at the highest risk of infection from
pathogens found in pet waste. Flies also spread diseases found in pet waste.

Diseases that can be transmitted from pet waste to humans include:

Salmonellosis - The most common bacterial infection transmitted to humans by other animals.
Symptoms include fever, muscle aches, headache, vomiting and diarrhea.

Toxoplasmosis - A protozoan parasite carried by cats that can cause birth defects such as mental
retardation and blindness if a woman becomes infected during pregnancy; also a problem for
people with suppressed immune systems.

Campylobacteriosis - a bacterial infection carried by dogs and cats that frequently causes diarrhea
in humans.

Pet waste can also contain
e. coli bacteria, roundworm, giardiasis, tuberculosis, gastroenteritis and
cryptosporidiosis.


Additional articles regarding the effects of pet waste on your health and the environment:

Southeast Michigan Council of Governments:
http://www.semcog.org/OursToProtect_PetCare.aspx?terms=pet+waste

Lake Superior Duluth Streams.org
www.duluthstreams.org/understanding/impact_pet.html

The State of Rhode Island Department of Health and the University of Rhode Island Cooperative
Extension Department of Natural Resources Science
www.uri.edu/ce/healthylandscapes/WQP.Pet%20Waste.pdf

United States Environmental Protection Agency
www.epa.gov/safewater/sourcewater/pubs/fs_swpp_petwaste.pdf
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