Pet Waste Protocol May 1, 2022 Email Having a pet can bring many positive benefits – joy, companionship, activity – as well as a greater sense of responsibility. One important responsibility is cleaning up your pet’s waste. When not properly disposed of, pet waste contributes to litter, community odor issues, and water contamination. When it rains, uncollected pet waste runs into local streams, rivers, lakes and the ocean, causing worms and other bacteria to enter these ecosystems. This contamination in waterways can cause serious health issues in humans. Additionally, the decay of pet waste can create nutrients for weeds and algae to grow, preventing healthy oxygen levels and causing fish to asphyxiate and die. Keep San Luis Obispo County waterways safe and community spaces healthy and clean by being a responsible pet owner with these pet waste tips: Keep a well-stocked stash of poop bags by your door or in your car to grab before taking your pet for a walk. Tie poop bags around your pet’s leash or use a poop bag holder attachment. Out of poop bags? If you are at a dog park, ask a nearby pet owner if they can spare a bag. Tie off your pet waste bags securely to eliminate the potential of contamination or litter. Pet waste cannot go inside your green waste bin – dispose of bagged pet waste in the trash. While unbagged dog poop can also be flushed down the toilet, cat poop should never be flushed down the toilet. Considering backyard composting your pet waste? While it is possible, the pile must reach at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit for five days to safely sterilize the fecal matter. Most backyard compost systems, however, do not achieve these important minimum safety standards.