Pet waste on Daniel Island a ‘recurring problem’
Daniel Island is a paradise for both pets and their owners. But when nature calls, the leash-holder must make sure the grass stays green, not just for aesthetics but for sanitary reasons.
Recently, the Daniel Island Property Owners Association (DIPOA) has had to send out numerous reminders that it’s not their job to pick up where one’s pet left off. And it’s not the pet’s fault, it’s the owner’s.
Pet waste is full of bacteria, parasites, and other harmful organisms that can negatively impact the health of humans and animals. When it rains, improperly disposed of pet waste makes its way down storm drains and into Charleston’s surrounding bodies of water, causing contamination and impurities. It can lead to increased algal growth, decreased oxygen content in the water, and can even cause fish kills when it reaches the waterways, according to the City of Charleston’s Pick Up After Your Pet Program, which provides approximately 500,000 dog waste bags citywide each year.
“Pet waste is an issue that I would consider a recurring problem on Daniel Island,” said DIPOA president Jane Baker. “Even despite the fact that we did our best to educate residents on city ordinances and covenants, conditions and restrictions regarding picking up your own pet waste.”
The DIPOA has placed signage in parks on a rotating basis to remind pet owners of the rules. Some individual neighborhoods on the island have gone as far as DNA testing feces to register which bowel movement belongs to what pet in order to assess a fine to the obligated party.
Baker said the DIPOA is not in the position to conduct a poop-swabbing program with more than 15,000 residents. More so, the DIPOA does not have any staff designated to pick up dung.
Baker clarified that the DIPOA’s contractors oversee the green pet waste stations at parks, playgrounds and trails islandwide. There are more than 60 stations across the island to assist with this requirement.
However, the DIPOA is not the agency responsible for code enforcement. That duty falls on the Charleston Police Department’s Animal Control Unit.
Under the city’s Environmental Control Ordinance, “It shall be unlawful for any owner, keeper or walker of any dog or cat to permit his or her dog or cat to discharge its excreta ... unless such owner, keeper or walker immediately thereafter removes said animal’s excreta from the public or private property in
There is no regulation for an animal’s urine, but
feces must be cleaned up or the person in charge will be subject to a fine up to $1,087. Violators may or may not be given a warning at the officer’s discretion but it’s not explicitly stated in the ordinance.
“I always like to give people the benefit of the doubt, me personally,” said police officer Courtney Bayles, supervisor of the Animal Control Unit. “Make it more of an education standpoint first ... If it becomes a recurring issue then, yeah, we will issue a fine.”
Bayles noted that when her department receives calls related to pet cleanup, Daniel Island is at the top of the list in terms of call quantity.
However, Baker noted that the DIPOA does not receive frequent calls complaining about undisposed pet feces. She estimated that her office receives one call a month, on average.
Baker added that by no means are the waste sites unkept or overflowing due to any kind of negligence. She said there’s been no difference in volume as of late.
“Picking up after your pet is just the neighborly thing to do,” she said. “Just be a good neighbor.”
To support the City of Charleston’s Pick Up After Your Pet Program consider sponsoring a dog bag dispenser by emailing email@example.com or calling 843-579-7501.
For a map of bag dispenser locations or to complete a sponsorship form, visit the city’s website at charleston-sc.gov/.
If you observe an Environmental Control Ordinance violation, call 843-577-7434 and inform the Charleston Police Department’s Animal Control.