CARMEL, Calif. -

Save Our Shores says volunteers are noticing a major increase in the number of bags of dog wasted abandoned on Carmel Beach during this year's beach season.

Numerous Carmel community members have brought this issue to the attention of SOS over the last few months. On June 14, three Sanctuary Stewards collected cleanup data to back it up - and the group collected 39 bags of dog waste, a total of 16 pounds, at Carmel Beach.

Save Our Shores volunteers distributed dog waste bags to people visiting Carmel Beach on July 4 but during a cleanup there the next day, the 185 pounds of trash collected by volunteers included 37 bags of dog waste.

Although there are dog bag dispensers at Carmel Beach, SOS has found that many visitors are bagging their pets’ waste and leaving it on the sand, rather than walking it to a garbage can.

"Plastic bags of dog waste on the beach are a serious issue,” said Rachel Kippen, SOS Program Manager. “Not only are they an eyesore and horribly unpleasant, but they also have a direct impact on some of our most critical species, including the endangered southern sea otters that call Carmel’s kelp forest home. "

Save Our Shores will be hosting cleanups at Carmel Beach from 10 a.m. to noon on July 19, Aug. 23, Sept. 20, Oct. 18 and Nov. 15.