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Solution offered for dog pollution of park

Becky Hanley suggests doggie septic tanks be installed to encourage pooch owners to comply with rules.

By TIM GRANT, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 10, 2002

CARROLLWOOD -- A simple game of tag football at the Original Carrollwood Park can be a daredevil act when the players have to navigate around piles of dog poop.

One false move and they're dealing with a big laundry challenge, not to mention health issues. All because a dog owner did not pick up after their pet.

"We have all the playground equipment out there and kids are running around and they don't know what they'll step in," said Becky Hanley, a member of the Carrollwood Recreation District board.

A Hillsborough County ordinance requires owners to collect their pet's waste, but it's a hard law to enforce. Animal Control workers are way too busy with stray dogs and most people are not inclined to report their neighbors.

Now residents of Original Carrollwood are considering a novel solution to this messy problem in the private community park, which has a playground, walking trails and picnic areas.

Hanley wants board members to install two doggie septic tanks in the park, at Orange Grove and McFarland drives, to give dog owners a place to properly dispose of pet waste.

At less than $50 each, cost is not likely to be an factor in the decision.

Members of the community's tax board will seek more public comment on the idea at their next meeting at 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Carrollwood Recreation Center.

"A lot of folks walk their dogs over there and part of their responsibility is to scoop their poop," said homeowner Evans Bostick, a resident who supports the proposal. "That's fine with me. Doesn't seem like it would be that controversial."

Hanley first raised the idea at a board meeting in December. She said the initial reaction from other board members was a hearty round of laughter.

"They thought it was amusing," Hanley said. "No one ever heard of a doggie septic tank. But if you have dogs, you frequently get pet catalogs that have them and I know people who own them in their own yards."

Hanley said she thinks people don't pick up after their dogs because they don't want to have to carry the waste home. She said this idea would help make the park a more pleasant place because "the ease of disposal would encourage dog owners to comply."

The most popular dog septic tank on the market is the "Doggie Doolie." It retails for $46.99 at Petsmart.

It is a 20-by-20-inch box that is buried one foot underground. Twice a week, a water and chemical solution is used to break down the waste. A Petsmart employee said the item has been sold there for about three years and is a popular item.

- To reach Tim Grant call 269-5311, or at

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