Pet Waste: The Problem Is Bigger Than You Think – Potential Health Hazards for Not Picking Up Pet Waste

It’s not just about diminishing curb appeal – unscooped pet waste also puts the health of entire apartment communities at risk. When pet owners don’t pick up their pet’s waste, there are massive health and environmental implications. 

As more apartment communities allow pets and assistance animals onsite, the animal waste problem continues to grow. According to the latest Multifamily Pet Policies and Amenities survey conducted by PetScreening and J. Turner Research, 84% of respondents ranked pet waste as their No. 1 pet-related concern. And with more than 60% of renters owning a pet, it is not a concern to be taken lightly. 

Pet waste is more than an inconvenience for residents and onsite teams. It poses tremendous health hazards and is known to cause various diseases such as Salmonella, E. Coli, and Ringworm. Some pet owners may not realize it, but leaving behind pet waste substantially increases the health risks that residents, onsite teams, guests and pets alike face. 

In addition to health concerns, pet waste is a potent cause of environmental impact. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency lists pet waste as a significant source of nonpoint environmental contamination, meaning it comes from more than one source.

When waste is left on lawns and sidewalks, it eventually washes into nearby bodies of water through storm sewers. Storm drains don’t connect to a treatment facility, so the waste inevitably ends up in local lakes, rivers and streams. The Georgia-based Clean Water Campaign estimated that a single gram of dog waste can contain 23 million fecal coliform bacteria, which are known to cause cramps, diarrhea, intestinal illness, dehydration, and kidney disorders in humans.

Genetic researchers have been studying the fecal contamination in our water to see if it is directly linked to dogs. The results overwhelmingly point to our furry friends as the culprit. While it will be a bigger undertaking to tackle the pet waste issue in a city or town at a macro level, it is becoming easier to solve the problem at a micro level within apartment communities. 

Although all types of pet-related issues present unique challenges to operators, pet waste management has long been a thorn in the side of the multifamily industry. Adding to the headache, more than 40% of pet owners do not take pet waste removal seriously. The burden of fixing this problem then falls on the shoulders of onsite teams. 

Operators can aid the cause by implementing pet waste management procedures within their communities. Pet waste management policies can help ensure the health and safety of humans and their animals while enhancing curb appeal.

Sure, installing pet waste stations with fully stocked bags may encourage better pet owner responsibility when it comes to pet waste being picked up. But by creating community policies and even turning to biotechnology solutions to eliminate pet waste,  operators can strategically nip the pet waste problem in the bud. 

More than 1,000 management companies and 6,000 community partners across the globe currently use a forensic application service that runs DNA testing on pet waste. According to PooPrints internal data, companies utilizing its biotech services have reported a 95% average reduction in unscooped pet waste that’s left unattended after implementation. 

Whether operators create community pet waste policies or turn to different types of biotech solutions, the pet waste problem is big enough to warrant some action. Curb appeal is important, but there is much more at stake in terms of safety, health and the environment when pet waste is left behind.