The Philadelphia Water Department recently elected a new spokesdog against pet waste pollution after a 'best in show' contest in Fishtown.
"Shorty and his owner, Michelle Pauls, will help spread the word about picking up after pets to ensure waste stays out of the city’s storm drains and rivers, where it can cause environmental issues," said Virginia Vassalotti, from the Schuylkill Action Network, in an email.
Shorty, who beat nearly 20 other competitiors, will now be the face of the Water Department's efforts to reduce pollution caused by bad pet waste habits.
According to the Water Department, pet waste, when not properly disposed of, can seep into the Philly watershed and sicken humans and animals.
"When people don’t clean up after their dogs, that waste gets washed into our storm drains and rivers, where it can cause all sorts of problems for people and wildlife," said the Water Department in a press release. "With the average dog producing about 200 pounds of waste every year, the negative impacts that come from improper disposal can add up quickly ... The good news is that good manners — picking up after your pet and putting the waste in the trash — is all it takes to fight pet waste poo-llution."
Even the Environmental Protection Agency said pet waste is a serious risk to water supplies.
From a recent EPA report: "Decaying pet waste consumes oxygen and sometimes releases ammonia. Low oxygen levels and ammonia can damage the health of fish and other aquatic life. Pet waste carries bacteria, viruses, and parasites that can threaten the health of humans and wildlife. Pet waste also contains nutrients that promote weed and algae growth. [Polluted] water makes swimming and recreation unappealing or even unhealthy."