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It’s National Scoop the Poop Week!

April 3, 2015

Ever heard of Scoop the Poop week? It’s no April Fool’s joke.

 

Scoop tClean Up After Your Dog!he poop week is an entire week dedicated to – you guessed it…picking up dog poop!

Every year during the first week of April, pet owners around the nation are have been summoned to pick up their pooches poo. Why?

Because of growing health concerns in communities throughout the United States. Scoop the Poop week is about enlightening pet owners about the dangers associated with leaving loose pet poop lying around in our parks, our yards, and on our sidewalks, but more importantly—this week is all about how we can deal with it.

Day 1: Facts about Dogs in the United States

The American Pet Products Association (APPA) estimates there are between 70 to 80 million dogs currently living in the US. For about every 4 people in the United States, there is one dog. In fact, the population of dogs is greater than the entire population of people in Texas, California, and Massachusetts, combined.

Your dog defecates anywhere from 1 to 5 times per day. Depending on the size of your dog, the amount of poop varies. With nearly 80 million dogs in the US…that is a lot of poop.

While no one source is 100% accurate in measuring the collective weight of doggy doo, everyone from the Environmental Protection Agency, to the ASPCA, to Universities and small business across the US agree that the numbers are astounding. For example, the American Pet Association estimates that dogs produce 4.4 billion pounds of solid waste per year.

That’s a lot of poop. But everyone does it, right? So what is the problem, you wonder?

Bacteria, viruses, and parasites.

Day 2 : Types of bacteria, viruses, and parasites

There are a number of different strains of harmful bacteria, parasites, and viruses that thrive in your dog’s intestines.

While some of these more common strains of bacteria may not be harmful to your healthy pet, the bacteria can cause severe illness in humans: E. coli, Salmonella, clostridia, campylobacter. Common parasites that live in dog fecal matter include the following: Hookworms, Roundworms, Tapeworms, Whipworms.

Each of these parasites has the potential to stick around the lawn for a long time as they continue to reproduce long after they are pooped out. Not only do these parasites infect you and your pet, wreaking havoc on intestinal health, but animals like deer and horses can also contract these parasites by grazing in areas where your pet has pooped. Have you ever seen a tapeworm? I promise you don’t want one inside you or your pet. If you suspect your pet might have worms of any kind, it is critical to bring them to the vet to get treatment.

Two of the most common viruses found in fecal matter include: Parvo Virus and Corona Virus
Parvovirus is an absolute puppy killer. It is estimated that 80% of puppies who contract Parvovirus will die without proper treatment. The Parvovirus originates from feces and its possible for the virus to live in your lawn for up to 6 months!

I know, I know. You wash your hands constantly- so you can’t get sick, right? And you never let your dog sniff another dog’s poop, so you’re in the clear right? Aside from the neighbors seeing brown spots on your lawn and occasional embarrassment of poo stuck to your shoe, what’s the big deal?

Day 3: The Biggest Issue

The big deal is the threat to our water and our air.

The EPA has classified pet waste as being equally as harmful as oil spills to our water supply. In areas where dog populations are highly concentrated, such as in cities like New York or Seattle, pet poop is a major pollutant to our waterbodies. Bacteria and parasites seep into ground water or get washed into rivers, bays, and beaches. About 33% of pollutants in the water in major cities is attributed to dogs.

It is estimated that in just 3 days, 100 dogs alone can poop enough to contaminate an entire bay, closing it to swimming and fishing. Dog dropping contamination is a major reason why pets are not allowed on popular swimming beaches after Memorial Day. Poop makes people (and their pets) sick! Aside from infections we can get from our bodies being submerged in a bath of bacteria, decaying dog dookie promotes weed and algae growth in the water. Excess algae and weeds disrupt the natural balance of the water’s ecosystem; producing harmful toxins in and impairing the habitat of fish.

Day 4: What cities are doing to prevent poop problems

While picking up after your pet seems easy, most pet owners simply don’t do it. Thus, preventing large-scale pet pollution isn’t as easy as it sounds. Cities across the nation have invested major tax dollars to implement pet waste management programs to educate the public about the growing concerns of pet pollution. Cities send out brochures, display flyers, and post signs. Dog-frequented parks might provide convenient receptacles and plastic waste bags. At one dog park in California, pet owners pay a monthly membership fee to maintain the park’s septic tank installed specifically for disposing solid dog waste. Still, many pet owners don’t understand why you should “Curb Your Dog”. Other pet parents just can’t be bothered.

P.S. “Curb your Dog” means don’t let your dog poop in the gutter where it’ll get washed into the sewer/public water supply by the rain! So…instead of depending on mere cooperation, cities now enforce laws governing how you handle your pooches poo. Scoop the Poop ordinances are in place in many communities. In almost every municipality, pet owners can be slapped with fines of anywhere from $20 to $10,000 for leaving behind their dog’s droppings. Of course, you always do nonchalant over the shoulder check, and if no one is watching, you can’t get caught, right?

WRONG.

It might seem outrageous, but some cities have considered DNA testing to track pet parents who negate to clean up after their dog by using DNA kits like “PooPrints”. Just as you need to license your dogs, you may also need to register their DNA!

Day 5: What you can do to prevent pet pollution

Scoop the Poop! It’s as simple as that. Pick up after your pet. Once you pick it up, make sure you dispose of it properly. Here are the 3 best ways to get rid of it:

1.Seal the waste in a plastic bag and throw it in the trash. (This is legal in most areas, but check local laws.)

2.Scoop it up and flush it down the toilet. Sewage treatment plants and septic systems can then treat the pet waste.

3. Bury small quantities in your yard, (away from wells, gardens, and sewers) where it can decompose slowly. Dig a hole one foot deep. Put three or four inches of waste at the bottom of the hole. Cover the waste with at least eight inches of soil. Bury the waste in several different locations.

Day 6: What if I don’t want to pick it up?

Then you probably shouldn’t own a dog. If you aren’t willing to change diapers then you probably shouldn’t have a baby, right? Or…maybe you’re lucky enough to have someone change diapers for you!

There are a number of professional waste management companies that relieve pet owners of the dirty doody of picking up poop. Go ahead—check your local yellow pages for a pet waste management business. Or better yet, Google it. There are hundreds of companies that specialize in scooping poop and there is probably one in your area. Check out “Doody Calls”- a franchise built on scooping poop.

Each company charges differently. Some might charge per year. Some bi-weekly. Some by number of pets per visit. Companies might charge as little as $25 per month to pick up after your pet.

If you feel funny about hiring a professional to do the dirty work, go ahead and make it a household chore, like washing the dishes or cleaning the bathroom. Better yet, suggest to the little entrepreneur who shovels your driveway every winter that you’re looking for a pooper-scooper too (just make sure it’s disposed of properly)!

Day 7: Scooping poop is no waste

Scooping poop is no waste of time. The extra 30 seconds it takes to pick up your dog’s dookie while you’re on a walk together will greatly reduce the risk of harmful bacteria from seeping into our air and water supply. Your efforts to Scoop the Poop will significantly diminish the probability of parasites and viral infections that you, your beloved pet, and precious wildlife could contract. Your stress levels will diminish knowing you won’t be fined for failing to doo your doody as a pet parent. And not only will you set a good example for other pet owners, but karma will also have your back – no more stinky poo shoe for you! But best of all, picking up your pup’s poo shows them just how much you care!

Innovative solutions for scooping the poop:

Turn dog poop into renewable energy:
Park Spark Dog Poop Gas Lamp

Vaporizer the poop:
Ash Poopie Vaporizer

Freeze the poop:
Poop Freeze

Flush the poop- Eco-Friendly flushable poop bags:
Flush Doggy

Drop the poop down the Doggy Doo Drain:
Doggy Doo Drain

Scoop the poop: Innovative Pooper Scoopers for everyone:
Prophetic Pooper Scoopers

 

– By Madeline Chiujdea

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