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Doggie doo-doo... don't leave it behind. Here's why.

Dog waste is actually an environmental pollutant that can harm people and animals.

TAMPA, Fla. — We all love our pups, but cleaning up after them seems to be a chore some folks choose not to do.  

Yep, we are talking about doggie doo-doo. It got so bad that a popular Tampa dog park had to be shut down for days, just for clean-up and sanitization.

When you live downtown, a dog park like this is the perfect place to let your pet run and play, but being a good dog owner also comes with important responsibilities. 

The Deputy Kotfila Memorial Dog Park in Tampa was shut down a few weeks ago, so the city could do what irresponsible pet owners wouldn't — clean up after their pets.

"It actually comes to a head pretty much every year is it just gets too nasty," Sue Chrzan said.

Chrzan is with the Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority, which built this huge dog park under the expressway, keeping pets and their owners in the shade and out of the rain and hot sun. 

"It took us all day to sanitize it and then we had to let it set and then we pressure washed it again, let that sit and then we were able to open so two days of closure to basically clean up after people who don't clean up."

Dr. Alex Higgins is a veterinarian at Bayshore Animal Clinic. 

"Dog waste we'll call it is actually classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as a pollutant because it can carry so much bacteria and actually parasites as well."  

She says dog waste left behind can cause all kinds of problems. "Things like E. coli, salmonella, hookworms, roundworms. These are things that are contagious from dog to dog and they can also affect the human population as well."

Dr. Higgins says dog waste is a problem for more than dog parks, it's being left everywhere. 

It needs to be picked up, even in your own yard because it can make you sick.

She also says it doesn't break down into a fertilizer like other animal waste, and it carries a lot of nitrogen and can harm your grass and also affect our water supply.

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