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'Scoop the Poop' for shot at fame.

Byline: Rachel Rippetoe The Register-Guard

SPRINGFIELD - As if scooping dog poop into a plastic bag isn't its own reward, Springfield's Development and Public Works Department is offering dog walkers a whiff of fame as well.

It is sponsoring a "Scoop the Poop" contest, and 12 lucky poop-picker-up-ers will have their pups featured in the department's annual "Canines for Clean Water" calendar.

Springfield residents can enter the contest, which wraps up Friday, by pledging to pick up their dog's poop - always.

They also must post a photo of their dog on the City of Springfield Oregon Government page on Facebook. The post must be related to the contest by the hashtags #Canine Pledge or #SpringfieldRes . Photos also can be emailed to water resources@springfield-or.gov, accompanied by the same hashtags.

The department created the Canines for Clean Water pledge and calendar in 2011 in an attempt to cut down on pet waste, which pollutes streams and rivers.

"The idea was to get Springfield residents more engaged, so as more people see their neighbors taking the pledge, they'll want to pledge as well," said Laura Keir, the communications coordinator for Springfield's Development and Public Works Department. "Hopefully it will become more of a social norm to always clean up the poop."

The calendar contest originally was open only to city employees, but Keir said that three years ago, it was opened to all Springfield residents.

She said it's hard to tell for sure whether the program has had an effect on reducing the amount of pet waste that ends up in stormwater runoff, but she hopes so, and her hope might be justified.

More than 1,675 residents have signed the pledge since it began. And as of June 12, 300 residents had entered this year's contest, 80 short of the entire number of entries last year.

Public Works' stormwater employees will select the winning calendar dogs.

The employees of the city's water resources program are dedicated to improving stormwater quality and local waterways, but when selecting the canine clean-water ambassador most likely to encourage dog owner to pick up their dog's poop, it's doggone good looks that matter.

"It's all about how adorable the dogs are," Keir said. "We try to pick a variety, so it's not all labs or the same kind of dog."

Kadi Metzger, whose Brittany spaniel, Bailey , won the contest last year as a 2-year-old, said that she thinks cuteness played a large factor in her 2017 win.

Metzger entered Bailey and her miniature poodle, Zoey, in the contest last year. She submitted a photo of Bailey sleeping on top of a stuffed animal that looked just like her.

"I feel like we just got lucky," Metzger said. "She's a really cute dog. She's my little buddy."

The winners of this year's contest will be announced in mid-July, and the calendar will come out in early December . The calendar is free to Springfield residents while supplies last. Keir said about 3,000 copies were printed last year.

The project costs about $4,670 a year, she said. That includes the cost of making the calendar and the costs of the photo portraits of all the contest winners.

Keir said that is a small price to pay for greater community involvement in helping keep Springfield's rivers and streams clean.

Animal feces often get mixed in runoff from urban areas that flows to storm drains, gutters, ditches, swales or a system of pipes, eventually ending up in the McKenzie or Willamette rivers.

According to a study by Springfield's Clean Water Services, 10 percent to 20 percent of E. coli found in rivers and streams can be attributed to dog waste.

"There's a lot of projects that we work on for the city that are behind the scenes," Keir said. "But this is really about getting community members to be a part of the process - and giving them a chance to show their love for their dogs."

Even residents who aren't interested in putting their pooch in the spotlight can pledge to "scoop the poop" by visiting springfield-or.gov.

Follow Rachel on Twitter @rachelrippetoe Email rachel.rippetoe@registerguard.com.
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Title Annotation:Local News
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Jun 20, 2017
Words:689
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