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Unleashed
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Did you celebrate Scoop the Poop Day?

Have you scooped some poop today? State officials are encouraging people to do it "every stinkin' time."

It’s not exactly dinner-table conversation, but the Maryland Department of the Environment says that up to 40 percent of American pet owners don’t clean up after their animals. And besides being rude and disgusting, that harms the Chesapeake Bay.

Dog waste, the department says, makes up 24 percent of the bacteria that pollutes urban and suburban waterways (anyone for a swim?).

To help clean that up, the department celebrated Scoop the Poop Day this week, hosting a press conference at Patterson Park to encourage pet owners to take home and properly dispose of their puppies’ gifts after walks and outdoor playtime. They also encouraged pet owners to clean up their own backyards as soon as possible after their dogs and cats relieve themselves to keep contaminants out of our rivers, streams and the Bay.

If you’re feeling particularly energized about poop after that, you can visit the department’s website to sign the scoop-the-poop pledge, print out a snazzy poop scoop reminder sign for your yard, map water quality where you live, and view a gallery of pets whose humans have already promised to clean up after their best friends.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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