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The City of Mountlake Terrace would like to remind residents and visitors that being a responsible pet owner is more than just providing food, water and shelter. It is licensing pets, obeying local ordinances, observing leash requirements, and ensuring pets are properly identified as well as spayed or neutered and vaccinated. It is also important to obedience train and socialize pets, and include them as part of the family. Another important responsibility is to scoop up after pets. When it rains, pet waste left on lawns, beaches, trails and sidewalks washes into storm drains. This untreated sewage and the disease carrying organisms it contains end up flowing directly into lakes, streams and Puget Sound where it can harm human health and the environment. Pet waste decays in the water, depleting oxygen levels and releasing ammonia, which is harmful to fish and other aquatic life. It also contains nutrients that promote weed and algae growth and can burn and discolor lawns. Picking up pet waste is also the law.
According to the Center for Disease Control, pet waste can spread parasites like roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms and Salmonella. Parasite eggs can live in the soil for years. Pet waste also attracts rats and other vermin that feed on the waste and spread disease.
It is easy for owners to carry pet waste bags with them as they walk their dog. To pick up pet waste simply put a hand inside the empty bag, grab the waste, turn the bag inside out and tie it. Then dispose of it properly by placing it in the trash.
Pets make great companions; they encourage owners to exercise, which can lower blood pressure and increase fitness levels. Pet owners owe it to their dedicated and loyal friends to be responsible and do their part to keep the environment clean and healthy for all.