Downtown Springfield comes up with a creative reminder to clean up after your dog

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – If you’re in downtown Springfield over the next week you may see some friendly reminders to do your duty as a pet owner and clean up after your dogs.

But the way they are going about delivering that message is a bit creative.

They have produced a few cheap tiny paper flags that go in the ground near pet waste.

The flags are meant to be an inexpensive method to spread awareness in a light-hearted way.

The flags have little messages on them with an emphasis on keeping downtown clean.

I talked to Carrie Lamb today with the City of Springfield.

Lamb is the water quality compliance officer.

“Every couple of weeks, there’s about 25 pounds of pet waste that gets picked up. In an average year, that’s costing about $7,500 in public resources that are spent addressing that,” Lamb said. “We feel like having a few city staff helping spread the word with these little flags is a great way to address that.”

Lamb says not only does an abundance of pet waste on the square effect the experience for residents, but it also can affect local streams.

“So just like human waste, pet waste contains bacteria and other pollutants that can be harmful to our waterways,” Lamb said. “You can imagine when it rains, and we have all of this pavement, if there is pet waste on the pavement or even a small grass area, it’s going to get picked up by that stormwater runoff and carried into the nearest storm drain. In the downtown area, it goes into Jordan Creek.”

But some pet owners have thoughts of their own.

“I understand why they are doing it, but unfortunately people are either responsible or they’re not,” Ann Johnson, a pet owner said.

While some say the city should focus on cleaning other things.

“We’re dog owners, and the thing I’m more concerned about are the cigarette butts,” dog owner Daniel Green said. “Those don’t go away. I don’t see any signs or flags about those. I’d love to see the city take more of an initiative about cleaning up the cigarette butts.”

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