PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia Water Department is giving dog owners in Juniata and Lower Moyamensing the chance to win celebrity status and $200 in prizes. Residents can now enter the Philly Water’s Best Friend Spokesdog Competition
, now in its fourth year.
The purpose of the PWD’s spokesdog contest is to keep waterways clean by encouraging dog walkers to pick up their pets’ waste. Winners do this by attending two or more neighborhood events, handing out flyers, and giving away free dog-waste bags.
“Believe it or not, dog poop can kill because it fuels the growth of fish-killing algae,” said Joanne Dahme, general manager of public affairs at the PWD. “This happens when rain or snow carries it into sewers, which can overflow into waterways.”
Lisa Wool of the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary
echoed Dahme’s concern, saying, “We love our dogs and enjoy taking them to our favorite neighborhoods, parks and streets, but those that don’t pick up ruin it for everyone. Dog waste has a ton of bacteria that we don’t want on the bottom of our shoes or washing off into local waterways or sewers, which empty into nearby streams.”
Records indicate almost 1,000 registered dogs live in Juniata and Lower Moyamensing. This means that residents must pick up almost 75 tons of dog waste every year. And this does not include unregistered dogs.
Studies differ on how much dog waste offenders leave on the ground. However, a conservative estimate puts it at 15% or, in this case, over 11 tons a year. This can cause a considerable stink given how dog waste takes up to a year to degrade. During that time it can spread bacteria, parasites, and ill will.
The deadline to enter the Philly Water’s Best Friend Spokesdog Competition is May 15. Dog owners can enter online at PhillyWatersheds.org
Voters will select the finalists during an online vote on June 1 to July 31. Since 2011, dog lovers have cast more than 30,000 votes for over 150 spokesdog candidates representing six Philadelphia neighborhoods.
Sponsors of this program include: the Philadelphia Water Department, Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership, Juniata Action Committee, and the Lower Moyamensing Civic Association.