The Philadelphia Water Department is opening up to the public a vote for its spokesdog, a gimmick designed to get across the message that the growing amount of animal waste is a serious issue for water quality.
But the pups are cute, and one bears the name of a Game of Thrones character.
The goal is to get city residents to realize that pooch poop can wash into waterways and ultimately into the Delaware River or Schuylkill, which provide the city’s drinking water.
Too much fecal matter creates pathogens and nutrients that can encourage algae blooms, which reduce in the water the oxygen needed by fish and other aquatic life.
The winning dog will have social media accounts used to promote good pet hygiene habits by their owners.
The winner will be announced Saturday, June 22, at Cobbs Creek Environmental Community Center in a celebration that includes games, nature walks, and other activities, culminating in a crowing of the winning dog by Water Woman.
The Water Department is running the contest with Partnership for the Delaware Estuary. According to the nonprofit, each gram of dog waste contains 23 million fecal bacteria. The local ecosystem can really handle only two dogs per square mile. In urban areas such as Philadelphia, there can be as many as 125 dogs per square mile.