Pick up the poop! Deadline for sign-making contest extended for area youth | TheUnion.com

Pick up the poop! Deadline for sign-making contest extended for area youth

We’ve all seen it. Plastic bags filled with dog waste along our favorite local trails or piled up at a trailhead.

Let’s face it. Dog waste on local trails is a messy issue, that’s why Bear Yuba Land Trust (BYLT) and South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL) have teamed up to increase community awareness by offering a fun sign-making contest for kids.

“We want to bring greater awareness to the problem, because even though many people do clean up after their four-legged friends, there are others who just don’t realize the impact pup poop has on the environment,” said Melony Vance, BYLT Community Program Manager.

The sign-making contest deadline has been extended. Youth under age 18 have until Dec. 31 to submit an original poster design that conveys the message to pet owners to clean up after their dogs.

A panel of judges will review the artwork and announce a winner in January of 2015.

The chosen images will appear on signs posted at trailheads throughout the community.

There are 78.2 million dogs living in the U.S. collectively depositing 10 million tons of waste every year. Dog waste is a major contributor to storm water pollution.

Rain and melting snow that flows across trails is carried to creeks, rivers and lakes threatening the health of fish and other aquatic life.

Roundworm is one of the most common parasites found in dog waste and can remain infectious in contaminated soil and water for years.

A recent Center for Disease Control and Prevention study found 14 percent of Americans tested positive for roundworms. Dog feces also commonly contains harmful bacteria and parasites such as fecal coliform bacteria, which can spread diseases like giardia, salmonella, and campylobacter, causing serious illness in humans.

The longer dog waste stays on the ground, the greater a contaminate it becomes.

Despite bags offered at trailheads, many dog owners choose not to clean up after their pets or worse yet, leave bags of dog waste along the trail or at the trailhead expecting someone else to clean up after them. Sorry folks, there is no poop fairy.

Even along the beloved Yuba River, dog waste is a common sight. Since 2012, trained volunteers in SYRCL’s River Ambassador program have picked up over 1,778 piles of dog poop in the summer season of 2012 and 2013.

Practice the four P’s as suggested by the CDC: Pick up Pet Poop Promptly. Responsible pet owners come prepared when they head to the trail and always carry bags to pick up pet waste.

Collect dog waste in a bag and deposit it in a trash can or dump the poop in the toilet without the bag.

If there is no garbage can at the trail, then be prepared to take the poop home with you to dispose of. Don’t forget to wash your hands to stop the spread of disease. Never leave bags on the side of trails — there isn’t anyone designated to pick them up.

School teachers and interested contestants may pick up their official entry forms at the offices of BYLT and SYRCL, or contact Community Programs Manager Melony Vance: melony@bylt.org or 272-5994, ext. 200. Visit http://www.bylt.org for more information.

Besides conserving land for agriculture and wildlife corridors, Bear Yuba Land Trust has an active trekking program and has built over 30 miles of local public trails including most recently the extension of the Hirschman’s Trail and a new trail at Black Swan.

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