Did you hear about the orange dog poop? I’m not talking about poop that looks kind of orange-ish, I’m talking about the orange as in construction-vest-orange. No? Well, bright orange dog poop is out there. It first appeared on the hiking trails in McDonald Forest in Corvallis, Oregon and it confused a lot of people who happened to stumble upon it.
Finding orange poop in the middle on the hiking trail might be confusing to many people but generally finding dog poop while walking is really annoying. Dog owners who don’t clean up after their pets while using public parks and trails are just the worst. It is common courtesy to clean up after your dog if he does his business in an area with high foot traffic. Unfortunately, some people in Corvallis, Oregon apparently don’t share that opinion.
Stepping on a dog poop can easily ruin your day, especially if you are in a hurry. How many times did you take your dog for a quick walk before rushing off to a job? Probably too many times. Now imagine doing everything in a rush so that you won’t be late just to step in a dog poop some inconsiderate dog owner left sitting in the middle of the dirt trail. So, in addition to being late for work, your shoes are stinking, and you need to rush home to clean them off. Was there anything you could do? Is it your fault because you don’t look where you are stepping? Absolutely not. The only person that is guilty of something in this situation is the dog owner who decided that cleaning after his pet is not something he or she needs to do. Luckily, there are some good people left who took the matter into their own hands. So to speak.
Stepping into a dog poop can pretty much ruin your day and that why a group of volunteers decided to spray paint every pile of dog poop with a bright orange spray paint. Think about it, as a dog owner you are also on the bad name because of a small group of people who don’t think it is necessary to clean up after their dogs. If some regular Joe who uses a trail for jogging or hiking steps into a dog poop, you are guilty in his eyes just because you take your dog on walks there. It doesn’t matter if you are conscious and responsible dog owner who cleans up after his pet, you are automatically on a bad name because of other people who don’t think it is their responsibility to scoop up after their dogs.
It doesn’t matter where your dog does his business, the only thing that matters is that you clean up after him. Leaving dog poop lying all over the place is unhygienic, and it can be dangerous. Kids like to play on the ground a lot and a dog poop that stands for a couple of days in dirt can contain dangerous bacteria. Also, that bacteria from dog feces can easily pollute any nearby water supplies and spread diseases to other humans and animals that get in contact with it.
This type of dog owner behavior was typical in McDonald Forest in Corvallis, Oregon. At least it was until a group of volunteers decided to put a stop to that kind of behavior. During their first run, they found around 1, 000 piles of dog feces spray painted with bright orange spray paint, and they picked them up and disposed of them. You still might wonder why spray paint a poop? Well, spray painting a dog poop with construction-grade orange spray paint is a part of a public information campaign that was launched by local veterinarians and Oregon State University’s College of Forestry. The main goal of this campaign is to raise the awareness of this kind of behavior and ecological problems it might cause to McDonald Forest.
You will often hear how people defend this kind of behavior with that famous statement; “but dog poop is a natural fertilizer!” Well, that also is not true. There is nothing that can justify this kind of behavior. Just ask any biologist or a vet, and they will tell you the same thing, a dog feces can cause severe ecological issues in forests, parks, and trails. Just imagine those bacteria and parasites such as hookworm, giardia, coccidia, roundworm, tapeworm, cryptosporidium, and whipworms ending up in fresh water, that same water other animals use to cool off or drink from. Does that seem like an ecological disaster? Well, it should be because it is.
Another issue and reason why volunteers spray paint dog poop with orange spray paint are the smell. Just try and imagine how bad smell can get during the summer heat. If you have ever visited a farm during a warm day, you can have a pretty good guess. Now imagine that smell sprawling throughout the beautiful forest trail where people go to relax and clear their mind. Those two don’t mix very well.
Now you know about the orange dog poop phenomenon. You know why it happens, you know because of who, and you know how the poop becomes orange. It is vital to keep our forests, parks, and our water supplies clean and fresh. Leaving your dog’s poop in the middle of the trail just because you don’t feel like picking it up might save you 20 seconds of your life but it will do much more damage to the environment, and someone is still going to have to pick it up after you. So please, don’t be that person.