An average dog produces nearly one pound of poop each day. With an estimated 65,000 dogs in Anchorage, that’s a big mess to be picked up. On Saturday, dozens of volunteers were cleaning up after other people’s dogs for “Scoop the Poop.”

Each spring and fall, the Anchorage Waterways Council organizes the event to make the city’s parks less ugly and smelly. But dog waste can also be a health hazard. If the fecal coliform bacteria enter a body of water – like University Lake near the dog park – it can be dangerous.

“It can carry things such as E. coli and salmonella. And then if you go into that water, and you have a cut or something, there is the possibility of you contracting that,” said Laura Atwood, from Anchorage Animal Care and Control.

One volunteer said she scoops poop throughout the year, so she wasn’t going to miss Saturday’s event.

“It’s sort of like an Easter egg hunt!” said Mary Vavrik while looking through a wooded area for any stray scat.

She said it’s “a very rewarding thing to do.” And while she wants everyone to pick up after their pets, no one is immune from forgetting a doggy bag every now and then.

“Every once in awhile, you might miss a poop or two,” she said. “But sometimes, you have to clean up after people that don’t really realize that you’re supposed to be a responsible pet owner,” said Vavrik.

And being responsible isn’t just courteous; it’s the law. Those who don’t pick up after their dog risk a $75 fine.

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