The dirty truth

Written by Baker City Herald Editorial Board May 18, 2011 11:53 am

Most people, we suspect, tend to think of dog waste as a stinky mess but nothing more.

But it turns out the stuff can do something worse than foul up our shoes.

It can makes us sick, too.

And our kids are especially susceptible.


Dr. Robin Hayes, a local veterinarian, has educated us about the potential menace that lurks in what our dogs leave behind.

Hayes convinced a lab to test samples of dog and cat excrement that she and her staff collected during two weeks in April.

The results showed that 16 percent of the samples were infected with roundworms, a parasitic worm that can get into people as well as pets.

Although roundworms rarely cause serious harm to humans, the parasites can kill dogs and cats.

Although the findings didn’t surprise Hayes — the 16-percent rate actually is relatively low, she said — she was shocked by the amount of dog waste she saw along the Leo Adler Memorial Parkway.

And the problem isn’t confined to that popular path, either.

Hayes’ research reminds us that responsible dog owners clean up after their pets not only because it’s the decent thing to do, but also because failing to do so violates a city ordinance.