Scoop the poop! - Albuquerque Journal

Scoop the poop!

Cathryn Cunningham/Albuquerque Journal

Pets are wonderful companions when hiking our great open spaces or taking a walk around the neighborhood. Spoiler alert – that pleasant walk is not so fun when you are dodging piles of poop because some other human did not pick up after their dog relieved themselves. Additionally, it can be harmful to other pets and the environment.

Picking up after your dog is not only the law, but also a common courtesy, and your responsibility as a pet owner. According to the city of Albuquerque website of ordinances, 9-2-3-8 ANIMAL NUISANCE; DEFECATION; CLEANUP. “No person shall allow an animal to defecate upon public property or upon any private property other than the property of the owner of the animal without thoroughly removing and disposing of the feces.” It may be tempting to think if the dog goes off trail a bit, no one will step it in or run over it with their mountain bike. Or to consider pushing the waste off the sidewalk into the street “where it will just go away.” Another fallacy is the pet waste fertilizes the ground.

Pet waste dangers

Even if your pet is fully vaccinated, it can still give or receive disease-causing bacteria and parasites in pet waste.

Children and adults can also become infected from disease-causing bacteria and parasites in pet waste.

Humans at risk for:

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

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

• Toxocariasis – roundworms usually transmitted from dogs to humans, often without noticeable symptoms, but may cause vision loss, a rash, fever or cough.

• Toxoplasmosis – a parasite carried by cats that can cause birth defects if a woman becomes infected during pregnancy. Can also be a problem for people with depressed immune systems.

• Intestinal parasites can be transmitted to people and other pets, including: roundworms (one of the most common parasites found in dog waste and can remain infectious in contaminated soil and water for years), whipworms and hookworms.

Stormwater pollution happens when pet waste left on the streets, yards, trails or roadsides is then picked up by stormwater runoff and carried into drains or arroyos. Stormwater is not treated before it reaches the river, and pet wastes contribute to poor water quality. To paraphrase a clean-water campaign “If you think picking up dog poop is unpleasant, try water recreation in it.”

Wild animals differ

Dog food is a processed, protein-rich diet. Wild animals generally eat what they find in their environment and recycle the nutrients already there. According to a Popular Science article in May 2022, simply picking up the excrement removes 97% of all phosphorous, 56% of all nitrogen and drastically lowers the disease risk.

It’s not fertilizer

Dog waste can burn or kill grass. While cow manure can be used in compost for gardens and fields, dog waste can cause contamination.

ABQ’s 20 tons a day

Several articles sited that an ecosystem could handle about two dogs per square mile. In many cities there are close to 125 dogs per square mile. The city of Albuquerque website estimates 80,000 dogs reside in the city, creating 20 tons of waste per day.

Make a difference

Take a plastic bag along when you walk your pet. Parks, Open Space and many neighborhoods make it easy by having “Mutt Mitts” readily available. Carry a couple extra to offer to other dog walkers who may not have a bag. Tie the bag and dispose in trash barrels provided in most public places or take it home for disposal.

Help be a part of the solution, volunteer for the Park Management Mutt Mitt Program. Contact Park Management Division (505) 857-8657 for more information.

Mountain bike riders who have their dogs running with them should recognize picking up after their dog applies to them, too.

While picking up after your pet may be unpleasant and an inconvenience, the negative effects of not doing it are greater. Be a good pet parent and enjoy a good , clean walk with your four-legged friend.

Home » Opinion » Guest Columns » Scoop the poop!

Insert Question Legislature form in Legis only stories

Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email

taboola desktop

ABQjournal can get you answers in all pages


Questions about the Legislature?
Albuquerque Journal can get you answers
Email addresses are used solely for verification and to speed the verification process for repeat questioners.
Students need financial literacy as a graduation requirement
From the newspaper
OPINION: Without basic personal finance education, ... OPINION: Without basic personal finance education, far too many employees turn to check-cashing outlets and get charged unnecessary fees, take out high-interest loans, or ...
NM needs to act quick to attract and keep ...
From the newspaper
OPINION: The average age of physicians ... OPINION: The average age of physicians in New Mexico is 53, so we can predict increasing shortages as retirements occur.
Editorial: NM lands need a state 'legacy fund,' true ...
From the Editorial Board: A healthy ... From the Editorial Board: A healthy outdoors is a healthy part of New Mexico's fiscal landscape, so the chance to unlock federal matching funds ...
Largest police cadet class in years seated in Santa ...
ABQnews Seeker
The 205th New Mexico Law Enforcement ... The 205th New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy class has 64 prospective officers. The class is shaping up to be the largest in years.
New Mexico seems determined to extend class time. What ...
ABQnews Seeker
Three competing proposals are on the ... Three competing proposals are on the table
Bill would allow New Mexico cities, counties, tribes to ...
ABQnews Seeker
The proposed legislation would allow local ... The proposed legislation would allow local governments to take over electric generation from privately run utilities.
Bernalillo County sheriff calls current body camera tech 'trash,' ...
ABQnews Seeker
The sheriff's statement on body cameras ... The sheriff's statement on body cameras was in response to a recommendation from the Sheriff's Office Advisory and Review Board. The board gave BCSO ...
Get to know Harry Montoya, who reads NM Senate ...
ABQnews Seeker
Can you pronounce "amyotrophic?" Newly installed ... Can you pronounce "amyotrophic?" Newly installed New Mexico Senate Reader Harry Montoya ...
Best sites for Albuquerque building and road construction information
ABQnews Seeker
WHAT'S UP WITH THAT CONSTRUCTION? Michael ... WHAT'S UP WITH THAT CONSTRUCTION? Michael A. Blackledge asks "does the city of Albuquerq ...