A University of Bristol School of Veterinary Science study found that the U.K. dog population is estimated to be around ten million, with those canines producing well over 2 million pounds of excrement each day. Much of it winds up in parks, on sidewalks and on city streets.
Eric Morgan and his colleagues at Bristol who conducted the study found that dog poo can act as a major source of the parasitic egg of Toxocara, which can potentially contaminate the environment and infect humans. Human victims may suffer from abdominal pain, breathing difficulties and other problems.
Each adult female worm can lay 12,500 eggs or more per day, equating to around 3.7 billion eggs shed each day in any given city, Morgan said. Toxocara, as prevalent as it is, represents just one of many health threats associated with dog waste.
Cat waste may pose health risks too. Mayer said PooPrints can tell whether or not a fecal sample came from a cat, but DNA profiling of felines is not common.
“A lot of people hesitate taking a cheek swab from a cat, considering their sharp teeth and claws,” he explained. “Also, cats tend to bury their waste.”
Whether the offending pooper is feline or canine, Mayer reminds that only one individual is to blame: the owner.
As he said, “The pets are just doing what comes naturally. It is up to owners to clean up after them to ensure cleaner, greener communities.”