News Release, Town of Chesapeake Beach

Recently complaints have been “piling up” about pet owners not cleaning up after their animals. Within the jurisdiction of the Town of Chesapeake Beach, Calvert County Animal Control Regulations apply.

In accordance with Section 7-6-702 Section C of Ordinance No. -08 of Calvert County Code Chapter 7 – ANIMALS, “a person shall not allow animal feces to accumulate on any property causing unsanitary conditions or conditions detrimental to the health and well-being of animals or humans. A violation of this section constitutes a Class B violation, a misdemeanor and punishable by a fine not to exceed One Hundred Dollars ($100) for the first violation, Two Hundred Dollars ($200) for the second violation occurring within twelve (12) months of the first violation; and Four Hundred Dollars ($400) for a third violation, doubling for subsequent violations up to a maximum of One Thousand Dollars ($1,000).

Pet Waste is Toxic. Woof-woof waste does not make for a good fertilizer. It is actually toxic to your lawn, causing burns and unsightly discoloring. Beyond your grass, it has been estimated that a single gram of dog waste can contain 23 million fecal coliform bacteria, which are known to cause cramps, diarrhea, intestinal illness, and serious kidney disorders in humans. EPA even estimates that two or three days’ worth of droppings from a population of about 100 dogs would contribute enough bacteria to temporarily close a bay, and all watershed areas within 20 miles of it, to swimming and shell fishing. If you aren’t worried about the state of your local waterways, you may be a bit more concerned about the impact of dog waste a little closer to home.

The thing about persistently disposing of stools improperly (or not at all) is that it kicks off a harmful cycle that can affect your whole family—including your pet. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), pet droppings can contribute to diseases animals pass to humans, called zoonoses. When infected dog poop is deposited on your lawn, the eggs of certain roundworms and other parasites can linger in your soil for years.

Anyone who comes into contact with that soil—be it through gardening, playing sports, walking barefoot or any other means—runs the risk of coming into contact with those eggs; especially your dog. Some of the hard-to-pronounce parasites your lawn could harbor include Cryptosporidium, Giardia, Salmonella, as well as hookworms, ringworms and tapeworms. Infections from these bugs often cause fever, muscle aches, headache, vomiting, and diarrhea in humans. Children are most susceptible, since they often play in the dirt and put things in their mouths or eyes. 

So, in essence, the cycle begins and ends with you. Please use the mutt mitts the Town provides. If you repeatedly see someone who refuses to clean up after their animal, document it and share that information with the appropriate authorities. Let’s all work together to keep our community clean and healthy!

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...