Scoop Your Pets Poop

Dog & Owner Scooping Poop

Pets offer lots of unconditional joy and companionship as four-legged members of our family. We include them in all our daily activities, especially our outdoor exercise and recreation. As pet owners, we’re responsible for our pets’ health and public behavior.

When a dog stops to poop on a lawn, at a park or on any other public space while walking with its owner, the owner is responsible for scooping that poop off the ground in order to prevent it from contaminating our rivers and creeks.

Scoop Your Pet Poop, S.A.! (PDF)

Pet Poop, Bacteria & Our Waterways (Frequently Asked Questions)

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A: Dog waste can actually be bad for lawns and grassy areas when left on the ground. The waste carries bacteria that can spread to the ground and contaminate it for years, making it unsafe for people, especially children and pets to be around. Bacteria from nearby pet waste can also contaminate vegetables and fruit growing in a home garden. For this same reason, pet waste should not be added to lawn compost. Compost does not generate enough heat to kill the bacteria and it can be toxic to lawns.

A: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that a single gram of dog waste contains as much as 23 million fecal coliform bacteria, including Escherichia coli (E. coli) which can cause a range of illnesses in people including stomach cramps, diarrhea, intestinal problems and kidney disorders. Other harmful things that pet waste contains include parasites such as hookworms, ringworms, tapeworms and Salmonella. Roundworm larvae in pet waste can trigger disease in the brain, lungs kidneys, liver, heart or eyes if it comes in contact with people. Pet feces also carries Campylobacter bacteria. If people touch fecal matter contaminated with this bacteria, they can get campylobacteriosis and experience severe stomach illness and complications from infection, especially those with compromised immune systems.

A: When pet waste is left on the ground during a rainstorm, storm water runoff can carry it and its host bacteria and parasites down the storm drains and into our waterways. The bacteria can kill native fish, plants and animals while making the water unsafe for swimming, fishing and drinking.

Pet Poop Scooping Tips

Use the following tips when walking or leaving your pet outdoors or in a public space to help prevent bacteria from contaminating our river and creek water:

  1. When walking your dog, always scoop up their poop. You can purchase and use biodegradable pet waste pickup bags and pooper scooper tools at most pet supply and retail stores. Never pick up dog poop with your bare hands and always wash/sanitize your hands thoroughly after disposing of it.
  2. Pet poop should be bagged, tied and tossed in the nearest garbage can. Never leave a tied poop bag on the ground.
  3. Scoop pet poop from your lawn regularly, at least one or more times per week. If weather forecasts predict rain, do a quick check and poop scoop on your lawn beforehand to prevent it from being carried into the storm drains.
  4. Never hose pet poop left on your driveway or lawn into the street or alley.

Pooper Scooper Law - City of San Antonio

Pet poop left on the ground is against the law:

  • Leash and pooper scooper required. (San Antonio City Ordinance – Section 5-19)
    • An animal owner or keeper shall not walk an animal without a leash restraint, and shall not guide or take animals onto the yards or driveways of property not owned, leased or occupied by the animal owner for the purpose of allowing the animal to defecate, but shall keep the animal in the public right-of-way, and shall carry a container and implement for the sanitary removal of the animal’s fecal matter from the public sidewalk and public right-of-way adjacent to any property with a structure or other improvements thereon.
  • Unlawful acts; criminal penalties (San Antonio City Ordinance – Section 5-21)
    • (a) Unless otherwise specifically provided for in this chapter, if it is found that a person intentionally, knowingly or reckless violated…provision of this chapter, then upon conviction a person shall be fined an amount not less than one hundred dollars ($100.00) and not more than two thousand dollars ($2,000.00) except that, in the event a person has once previously been convicted under this chapter, the person shall be fined an amount not less than two hundred dollars ($200.00) and shall be fined not less than three hundred dollars ($300.00) for a third conviction and for each conviction thereafter.
    • (c) Nothing in this section shall limit any and all other criminal, civil or administrative remedies available to the city in seeking to enforce the provisions of this chapter. Each day’s violation thereof shall constitute a separate offense.


About Remember the River

Remember the River is a community campaign focused on nonpoint source pollution prevention outreach and education. The campaign is led by the City of San Antonio.

All campaign education and outreach efforts are conducted in compliance with educational/outreach guidelines established under a TPDES Phase I Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) discharge permit regulated by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

Contact Us

Darlene Dorsey 210.207.1011

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P.O. Box 839966
San Antonio, TX 78283-3966