Dogs can now legally be on Ogunquit beach again, and while we may have some of the most responsible dog owners living here with some of the best behaved dogs you’re ever seen, it seems it only takes one or two to give dog owners a bad name.
Who are few dog owners who give owners a bad rep? Those that let their dogs run free and when their dogs are far away and ‘do their business’ in the sand, fail to pick up after their pet.
Dog fecal matter on the beach increases the disease laden bacteria can be present in our beach sand.
The Boston Globe reported on August 1, 2015 that researchers at the University of Hawaii found bacteria in the sand from 10-100 times greater than in the seawater.
Maine Healthy Beaches reports a scientific study conducted by four Miami researchers from different federal departments who found that the fecal coliform bacteria from ONE dog fecal ‘event’ was equivalent to 6,940 bird fecal ‘events’ – something to consider.
Moreover, infected dog poop can harbor a long list of diseases and parasites that may well linger in our beach sand. Anyone who comes into contact with that —be it through playing, walking barefoot or any other means—runs the risk of coming into contact with those diseases and parasites.
Children are most susceptible, since they often play in the sand and put things in their mouths or touch their eyes.
In fact, one gram of dog waste – about a quarter of a teaspoon of the stuff – is calculated to contain some 23 million coliform bacteria, so even if a responsible dog owner picks up after his or her dog, it is probable that coliform bacteria will still exist in the sand.
I grew up with labs – they were my best buddies – and they loved to run in our fields; if we owned labs now, I would be tempted to let them run on the beach as well, but we live in a community where each of us should leave our public places clean and healthy.