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Pet Waste

Pet Waste

Scoop it, bag it and trash it – even in your yard!

What’s the problem?

We have more than 125,000 dogs and 60,000 outdoor cats in Seattle! That amounts to about 50,000 lbs of pet waste every day!

Left on streets, curb strips and in yards and parks, pet waste can be carried by rainwater to storm drains and into our creeks, lakes and Puget Sound without treatment. It is one of the leading causes of bacterial contamination in our streams and causes other water quality problems just like livestock manure and fertilizer.

There are bacteria and micro-organisms in pet waste such as Roundworms, E. coli, and Giardia that can make people sick if they’re ingested. Some can last in your yard for as long as four years if not cleaned up. Children who play outside and adults who garden are at greatest risk of infection. If pet waste is washed into the storm drain it ends up in lakes, streams or marine water, and people can accidentally swallow bacteria and other disease-causing organisms while swimming or playing in the water. These bacteria also end up in shellfish, and can make the people who eat them very sick.

Here’s the solution

  1. Scoop the poop,
  2. Put it in a plastic bag,
  3. Place it in the trash, and
  4. Wash your hands

Did you know?

  • 87% of pets use their back yards and 48% of the people in King County say they don’t always properly dispose of pet waste at home.
  • A single gram of pet waste, the size of a pea, contains 23 million fecal coliform bacteria.

What should I do?

  • Put pet waste in a plastic bag, seal it, and throw it in the garbage- not in the yard waste! There are also Mutt Mitt (pdf) dispensers located around the City. The next time you're out walking your pet, take advantage of this free resource to help keep our waterways clean.
  • Cat litter should be bagged and placed in the trash. Do not flush it down the toilet.

Get involved

  • Purchase a pet waste baggie dispenser and bags for your street. Available online or in pet supply stores (these are not supplied or maintained by the City).
  • Spread the word about the importance of picking up pet waste. Print an I Poop poster from the Puget Sound Starts Here website and ask a local business to post it.

What if pet waste isn’t picked up?

It’s bad for your health, our waterways, and potentially your pocketbook! There are laws in Seattle to protect our health and our environment which require pet waste to be picked up and disposed of properly.

SMC 9.25.082
(A) Allowing the accumulation of feces (civil infraction, $109.00 fine)
(B) Not removing feces from another’s property (civil infraction, $54.00 fine)
(C) Not having equipment to remove feces (civil infraction $54.00 fine)

SMC 9.25.081
(G) Keeping an animal in unsanitary conditions (criminal – animal cruelty, maximum $1,000 fine)

SMC 18.12.080
(C) In Parks: Failure to carry equipment for removing feces OR failure to place feces in appropriate receptacle. (civil infraction, maximum $54 fine)

Related links

Off-Leash Areas
Seattle Animal Shelter
Look It Up Tool – How to dispose of pet waste
Public Health of Seattle & King County – Infectious diseases spread from animal to humans
Puget Sound Starts Here – Get involved in improving the health of the Puget Sound
City of Seattle Stormwater Management Program