Letter: Your pet dog is poisoning our planet

From non-biodegradable plastic bags to toxic feces to millions of tons of methane and nitrous oxide, it isn’t possible to be an environmentally responsible dog owner

The Editor,

The devastating effects of climate change are upon us. Anyone who is concerned about their personal footprint on the environment should be aware of the significant environmental impact of dog ownership. 

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Dog feces contains 23 million fecal coliform bacteria per gram. It can also contain the eggs of tapeworms, hookworms, roundworms, whipworms and pathogens such as parvo virus, cryptosporidiosis, giardia, campylobacteriosis, salmonella and others. Roundworm eggs can linger in soil for years. This parasite can cause toxicariasis, in which the worms can travel to the eyes and cause blindness, extreme pain and eye loss. It is far from harmless “doo doo.”

If you pick up your dog’s feces, traces are left behind containing pathogens. You are putting others at risk, particularly children — even if you pick it up.

Biodegradable bags in landfills produce methane, significantly contributing to global warming. Composting is difficult and unsuitable for urban yards. Non-biodegradable plastic bags are accumulating in landfills by the millions daily.

Dog feces can’t be flushed down the toilet because the system is not equipped to deal with the enormous added burden and it is also more toxic than human feces, and requires different treatment — and we would still be left with the bags. This is simply an environmental disaster. 

Cat and dog food production, because it’s largely meat, takes an enormous environmental toll, since they consume 30% of our animal derived calories. In the U.S., cats and dogs are responsible for producing 64 million tons of methane and nitrous oxide, contributing significantly to global warming.

These numbers are alarming and unacceptable. It isn’t possible to be an environmentally responsible dog owner.

An animal is not another citizen of the community, it’s part of your environmental footprint. When are we going to start discouraging animal ownership and start caring for our Earth?

Amy Tivoli, Coquitlam

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