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New pet waste removal rules in Durham County

Woman picking up her dog's poop from green grass in park

It seems easy – your dog poops while out for a walk and you clean it up right away. But the truth is, this simple clean-up isn’t something everyone practices. In response to dog owners not doing their “doody” to their community, Durham County, Wake County's neighbor to the northwest, is stepping up to make scooping the poop a priority.

What are the new pet waste removal rules? Durham County has intensified the rules around pet waste removal to curb the amount of dog poop left in communities. Homeowners associations must install at least two pet waste stations in residential developments and a third for communities with over 90 homes. These waste stations are also mandatory along trails within these communities.

Why are these rules changing? The #DurhamDoodyPledge – the campaign for dog owners to bring poop bags and handle waste removal on their own has unfortunately not been catching on as quickly as hoped. Durham County even passed an ordinance in 2016 requiring dog owners to scoop their dog’s poop or face a fine ranging from $50 to $150, but the waste is still piling up.

Why should we pick up our dog’s waste? Aside from the piles of poop being unsightly and a nuisance to avoid, it threatens public safety. Dog waste contains bacteria such as fecal coliform and salmonella, parasites and viruses such as toxoplasma that are dangerous to wildlife, other domesticated pets and humans. Dog poop does not seep into the ground or break down naturally with rain water; it instead washes into storm drains and streams and eventually flows into local waterways, affecting the water we swim in, fish from and drink. Due to these safety concerns, the Environmental Protection Agency has even deemed dog waste a pollutant of bodies of water.

What’s being done to protect our environment? In December of 2022, Attorney General Josh Stein announced that $1,129,770 in grants from the Environmental Enhancement Grant program would be awarded to central North Carolina to preserve natural resources and guarantee clean air and drinking water. As a result, Durham County received $225,000 to fix erosion and implement stormwater control methods. This grant also funds a curriculum centered around water quality, stormwater protection and environmental health at Neal Middle School. This project is known as the Neal Middle School Bioretention program.

How you can help your community. Encourage your community members to come prepared with bags in hand when going out and about with their dogs. But you could make things even easier for your residents and contact DoodyCalls to set up waste stations in your pet-friendly Wake County community! Never worry about leaving your residents without pet waste disposal areas again – but that’s not even the best part. DoodyCalls will handle station maintenance, create a waste removal schedule with you so your stations are never overflowing and replenish the bag supplies for your community. Check out our website or call (919) 373-3389 and let us be a part of keeping your pet-friendly community safe from the dangers of pet waste!