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In Minnetonka, too many dog poop deadbeats

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Some dog owners in Minnetonka are apparently neglecting their doggie doo duties when they're out and about with their pets, especially in the city's parks.

So city officials are launching a new campaign this spring to encourage residents to pick up their pets' waste, and they're even hosting a dog poop cleanup event this weekend, KSTP reports.

How bad is the problem? Even though Minnetonka, like most communities, has an ordinance requiring pet owners to pick up their animals' waste, residents have been complaining that it's not being followed.

A few folks decided to prove the point last year by collecting dog poop in a few city parks. In less than two weeks they had collected 200 pounds of waste, and told parks officials about it.

That's when the city decided to take action.

Dog poop isn't just a nuisance, according to Jo Colleran, Minnetonka's natural resources manager. It contributes to pollution in local rivers and streams, she told KSTP.

Colleran points out that dog poop isn't the same as waste from wild animals who live in the woods; theirs will decompose over time. And those animals are far outnumbered by the dogs who visit the parks regularly.

"In some parks, we may have 100 dogs a week, versus the deer herd that might be living in that general location," Colleran told KSTP.

Minnetonka is using newsletters, posters and educational programs in schools to remind people about picking up their dog's poop, but those efforts haven't been enough.

So, Colleran said, the city may put up new signs at parks about the ordinance, and ask local veterinarians and other pet-related businesses to help spread the word, according to the Star Tribune.

But the first step in the campaign is to determine just how big the poop problem is. That's where this weekend's cleanup event at Purgatory Park, a popular destination for dogs and their owners, comes in.

"Many other cities nationwide are working to reduce the volume of pet waste in public spaces, but it’s hard to determine how much waste is produced every year. We’ve chosen to test this question by hosting a pet waste pick-up event," parks officials wrote on the city of Minnetonka's website.

Volunteers are being asked to come to the park Saturday morning and bring along a pooper scooper and some plastic bags to clean up the pet waste. Afterward, city parks officials will weigh the the amount of poop that's collected to see just how big a job is ahead of them.

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