ARVADA, Colo. -- If you have a neighborhood park or green space you always avoid because of too much dog waste, you are not alone.
In Arvada, the doggie doo issue is so out-of-control that in some places the city is going to start fining people who don't pick up their dog poop.
“We appreciate animals,” said Arvada police spokeswoman Jill McGranahan. “We want people to have pets, but we want them to be responsible pet owners.”
Animal control officer Jeremiah Schoepflin has been marking piles of dog waste with flags for the past few weeks. He recently marked 382 piles of waste in a one block area near Wadsworth and Ralston Road.
"It's a huge health concern for people," said Schoepflin. “It could make people really sick. When our big park mowers come through here, that just turns everything into dust – and people are breathing it in.”
Arvada’s campaign to educate the public about the issue is called ‘Doo Your Part.’
"We're standing in a very popular playground in Arvada, and the problem is -- there's dog waste 100 feet to our left," McGranahan said.
And it’s piling up. In another area near Ralston Creek, 400 piles of poop were recently marked with flags.
“We don’t want to have to do what they did in Evergreen,” McGranahan said.
Evergreen recently shut-down its popular Elk Meadow off-leash dog park area because of so much waste and E-coli from doggie doo-doo.
"Dogs are not wildlife. Their waste does not break down," McGranahan said. “The kids play in it. They run in the grass. When it rains, it runs into our waterway."
Arvada officials said it's not in the business of writing tickets after your dog does its business, but it has no other choice.
"We will issue stern warnings and then we will issue citations,” McGranahan said. “And that fine could go up to $2,650. That's a huge incentive to do the right thing. It doesn't take much to clean up."
“People don't want to see it, they don't want to smell it," Schoepflin said. “And we definitely don't want to shut down any of our parks.”