ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – On a beautiful day out at the Copper Trailhead, most people’s eyes would be on the views, but Richard Shackley’s are on the ground.
Shackley spends dozens of hours a week doing what many pet owners don’t, picking up bucket after bucket of dog poop.
This weekend, he was one of many who were out at that same trailhead near Copper and Tramway conducting a massive cleanup. The haul was impressive and a little disheartening, 45 pounds of poop according to the city.
“In this case it was one big yard trash bag full of poop,” Shackley said.
The fact that it was out on the trail in the first place is despite local officials’ best efforts to warn people about the poop problem and dispel the misconception that it’s somehow good for the environment or a fertilizer. There’s been a “Poop Fairy” campaign and plenty of signs are posted at trailheads.
“The biggest threat to river water quality in the middle Rio Grande is bacterial contamination, including E coli,” said Melanie Martinez, a public information officer with the city’s Municipal Development Department. “E coli comes from many sources, but a recent study found that a fourth of river contamination comes from domestic dog waste.”
“It just bothers me that so much of that waste is going into the rivers and going into the arroyos,” said Shackley.
While this weekend’s haul was upsetting for Shackley, he says he’s seen the total poundage of poop pulled from Albuquerque’s trails go down in recent years.
If you’d like to help volunteer with the city’s Trail Watch volunteers, you can call (505) 452-5207 for more information.