Estuary Program staff, like many Central Coast residents, love going out and about with our dogs. We take them to the beach, we bring them hiking, we play with them at local parks, and walk them around town.
Dogs give us many wonderful things like companionship, love, and slobbery kisses. They also give us some stinky things…like an average of 3.5 pounds of poop per week.
About 281,000 people live in San Luis Obispo County and more than 62,000 dogs (roughly 1 dog per 4.5 people) make their homes here, with about 5,500 dogs located in Morro Bay and Los Osos. That means that over 19,000 pounds (or 9.5 tons) of dog poop are created each week in these two coastal towns alone. (If we add that up for a yearly total, we’re looking at almost 500 tons of dog poop. Yuck!)
If you consider that an average-size dog dropping produces nearly twice as much bacteria as human waste, all of that dog poop starts to sound like a health hazard. And it can be, if it’s left on the ground.
When it rains, waste can seep into the ground and wash into local storm drains and waterways, ending up in the bay. The bacteria from all this waste can be harmful to people and to the environment.
That’s why we always pick up after our dogs, whether we’re at the water’s edge, a public park, or at home. We’ve made it easy for locals and visitors alike to do the same by maintaining over 25 dog waste bag dispensers throughout the Morro Bay area through our Mutts for the Bay, Morro Bay Mutt Mitts program.
These dispensers are conveniently located at busy parks and other popular spots, making it easy to pick up after your dog (or even your adventurous cat) for free.
You can learn more about how dog owners can help keep Morro Bay clean and healthy by coming to our third annual DogFest on Sunday, May 15. From 10 a.m. until 1 p.m., City Park will be full of canines and the people who love them. Local dog-focused businesses will host booths where you can connect with them and pick up fun giveaways.
The Estuary Program will host an informational booth and a snack booth where you can grab some human treats (donations accepted). We’re holding a Dog Po(o)p Quiz and a Fake Dog Poo Pickup Race for prizes. Dog owners can also try their luck in the Morro Bay Dog Show, where prizes will be awarded for Best Dressed, Best Trick, and Best Owner and Dog Look-Alike.
Save the date; it’s going to be a blast!
Here are some photographs from last year’s event: