Probably the worst thing about having a dog is having to pick up their smelly piles of doo-doo. At Holiday Barn Pet Resorts, picking up and disposing of poop is no biggie…you get used to it. But some people are totally grossed out by it. Some even refuse to do it. It’s so annoying to see a big pile of poop left in the grass where children play and other dogs do their business. I realize that picking up dog waste is unpleasant, but it’s our obligation as a responsible pet owner to do so. I have seen it mentioned several times online that approximately 41% of Americans do not pick up their dog’s poop. Although I have been unable to validate this figure, let’s assume for a minute that it’s true. There are approximately 78 million dogs in America… that’s a lot of poop. What would happen if we all decided not to pick it up?
Many years ago, dog-training manuals said simply to “train your dog to go outside.” Period. It wasn’t until the mid – late 70’s that poop scoop laws came into effect. Just imagine for a minute the first time someone told the populace to start picking up their dog’s poop. What? Can you imagine the horror? Dog poop became such a problem in New York City in the early 70’s that many dog owners were afraid that it would lead to a ban on dogs in the city. I read also that in NY city prior to the poop scoop laws, there were signs along the sidewalk reading “Curb your dog”, which meant to teach your dog to do his business only in the gutter. Hmmm.. and gutters lead to large bodies of water… which then becomes polluted… Well, anyway…
The health concerns of not picking up dog poop
Picking up dog waste is much more than just keeping your yard and common areas (and shoes!) clean. It’s important to the environment. Some dog owners do not realize it, but dog waste is an environmental pollutant. As it lays in the grass and decays, toxic bacteria seeps into the soil, contaminating our waterways. Poop consumes oxygen and releases ammonia, both of which are detrimental to the health of fish and other aquatic life. Pet waste contains nasty pathogens and bacteria like E. coli, salmonella, giardia… things that can actually cause a health hazard to we humans. Not to mention the risk of roundworm, tapeworm, and hookworm. I think I’m gonna be sick…
It’s disturbing that some people still insist on not picking up their dog’s poop. Given the benefit of the doubt, could they actually be thinking that poop is an organic substance … it’s natural and okay left outside to decompose as nature intended? Maybe. Or maybe they’re just grossed out by it… I mean, maybe it gives them the dry heaves or something. I can kind-of “get” that. Many probably do not realize the importance of picking up their dog’s poop. And maybe they just don’t care about the environment, about other people, or they don’t want to spend their money on poop bags. Who knows?
What should you do with your dog’s poop?
As the dog-doo problem piles up (pun intended), people are getting very creative in ways to deal with it. As early as 2010, a way was discovered to turn poop into fuel. Dog waste emits methane gas. Methane gas generates power. Dog waste is responsible for powering a street light in a park in Massachusetts. Cool, huh? One guy in Geneva, Switzerland powers a light in his home with the droppings from his three dogs! Supposedly, some street lights in San Francisco are powered by poop. And in Vancouver, Canada, a poop power pilot program (say that three times!) is underway.
With all the dog poop produced by us dog-loving Americans, why aren’t we taking more advantage of it here in the US? Apparently, it has been proposed many times in many cities, but we’re just not quite “there” yet. It’s a little gross, but it’s a viable energy alternative that should not be overlooked, right?
It may be a while before we get to the point of converting dog poop into something usable on a more permanent basis, but in the meantime, we must be good advocates of properly disposing of dog waste, protecting our natural resources, and simply being considerate of those whom we share this beautiful earth with!