Composting poop nixed in Chicago

There’s a short article in the Chicagoland Tails magazine this month ‘Planet Poop: Composting your Pet’s Waste‘.  But more interesting is this comment:

I looked into composting dog feces both for my own pooch and for the dog daycare where I work recently. I was told, and confirmed with the city’s Department of Rodent Control, that composting dog feces within Chicago’s city limits is illegal, as it attracts rats.

I wonder if this might be an issue worth revisiting.

5 Responses to “Composting poop nixed in Chicago”

  1. April 21, 2010 at 10:41 am

    Looking into this further, there’s an interesting comment at WikiAnswers – somebody (unfortunately anonymous) actually tested the idea and has something to say:

    I have another point to add to the answer, in addition to what was contributed by the previous answer (above). Living in a city where rats are prevalent, I did an experiment. I own a dog and clean up its feces at the end of each day. I then placed each day’s ‘collections’ in my plastic garbage can with a hole chewed in the bottom by hungry rats (garbabe can provided by landlord, and hole present years prior to my household, and long prior to our dog). The poo was inside the average thin skinned grocery store bag.

    One week later, after watching many rats run through my alley, the dog poo is untouched…leading me to conclude that although as stated in the first answer, rats may eat dog feces in some situations, the presence of dog feces when there are other rodent attractants (fast food dumpsters, not secured metal garbage cans, and litter in general) probably have no effect on an existing rat problem.

    As an aside, especially in urban environments, responsible owners should clean up their pet waste with regularity. However, I can conclude that dog waste is likely a last resort for hungry rats, more akin to the Donner party than a scrumptious buffet.

    It would be an interesting question for anyone researching this further to see if there was some kind of control for the possibility that people who don’t clean up their pet waste may not keep open garbage or other rodent attractants out of their yards or nearby areas.

  2. April 21, 2010 at 10:57 am

    More on rats – you have to see the sign first:

    dog waste attracts rats (c) clarkmaxwell(c) clarkmaxwell

    Then go read this post at Havealittletalk’s Blog. It’s awesome.

    Man and dog are both oblivious, but these rats, with their big bellies and little feet and curly tails, are wiggling their snouts and whiskers, waiting to feast on the next pile of poop.

    Ha ha ha!

  3. 3 downtowndoodoobrown
    July 26, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    I always found the claim that dog poo attracts rats a little suspicious. For instance, in my part of the South Loop, I have observed quite a population of rats, as well as an abundant population of orphan poo. You’d think if all these rats liked to eat poo, we wouldn’t have a poo problem, since the rats would be eating the poo, but here these orphan poos remain, untouched, in the grass, without so much as a nibble from the rats.

    • December 11, 2010 at 8:02 pm

      Exactly. Do rats ‘clean their plates’??
      Do rats like a plate of tasty poo? It’s repeated so often, you’d think it must be true…
      But you’d also think we’d see a bunch of nibbled-on orphan poos lying around, if they were so very very tasty.
      Ever seen a half-nibbled poo? Me neither. But we’ll keep looking…

  4. November 21, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    There is a company in Ithaca NY — Cayuga Compost — that picks up dog waste from local dog parks and DOES compost it. It’s used as a soil amendment by some people. Done carefully, all animal waste can be composted. It’s a little difficult to get most folks on board with the idea, but the actual process is doo-able.

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