DUNEDIN, Fla. - Responsible pet owners know that leaving behind your dog "doo" is a big "don't." The city of Dunedin is amplifying that "scoop the poop" message, and they're doing it in a very Dunedin way, complete with kilts, bagpipes, and swords.
They're hoping to grab peoples' attention and remind them how more than 100 tons of dog poop - dropped each day - has the potential to sabotage Bay Area waterways.
If all dogs go to heaven, perhaps, heaven on earth looks like Dunedin. The city is so dog-friendly, that it's earned the nickname "Dog-edin."
"Dunedin has a large dog community, probably the biggest in the Tampa Bay region," said Michelle Monteclaro, Dunedin Stormwater Program Coordinator.
Men in kilts, holding swords for Dunedin PSA on cleaning up after your pets.
But where there are tails a-wagging, there are piles for bagging. The city just produced a "Scoop the Poop" PSA with the help of the New World Celts of Dunedin.
The video begins with a dog owner and her pup out for a walk. The dog decides to take a bathroom break in the grass.
"Whoa, how can something that large come out of such a small dog?" says a woman playing the role of a dog owner.
"Yeah, there's no way I'm picking that up," she continues, looking at the dog pile.
Cue the bagpipes. "Lass, you weren't going to leave that there, were you?" asks a member of the New World Celts of Dunedin.
The PSA is intended to remind dog owners of the damage abandoned doo can do, beyond annoying your neighbor.
"It's fecal contamination," said Monteclaro. "So, if it washes into our waterways, it's more nutrients which can lead to algae blooms and eventually fish kills."
According to research done by the Tampa Bay Estuary Program, an estimated 500,000 dogs live in the Tampa Bay watershed, dropping 125 tons of waste each day. Whatever's not scooped can flush into our water.
"When we get those health and safety warnings about not to swim at this beach or the water's not safe here, that could be because of stormwater runoff from pet waste, at least in part," said Maya Burke, Assistant Director of the Tampa Bay Estuary Program.
Over the weekend, several beaches in Manatee and Sarasota counties had "no swim advisories" due to high levels of enterococcus bacteria. Yes, that's feces.
"Whether it's human waste or animal waste, there's all sorts of things like nutrients. And those nutrients are really the primary pollutant to Tampa Bay," Burke said.
The PSA shares an age-old message with a clever Celtic twist that Dunedin hopes will make pet parents think twice about number two.
"It's important to protect our waterways because that's where we recreate," Monteclaro said. "That's where we kayak, that's where we fish, that's where a lot of our livelihood is."
Back when the Tampa Bay Estuary Program first did their research, they found about 40% of pet owners were not picking up their pet waste. The good news is that, with the help of local campaigns just like this one, they have seen a reduction in that messy behavior.