In America, we love our dogs. By recent figures, there are now upwards of 83 million taking up residence in the United States today and annualized collective spending on our furry loved ones reached $53 billion last year alone.
Nevertheless, despite our undying affection for Fido, we still don't enjoy dealing with the waste he leaves behind.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average dog discards approximately three quarters of a pound of waste per day. Over the course of one year, it adds up to 275 pounds per dog, most of which ends up in the back yard.
In Warren County, it’s estimated that the pooch population has now reached upwards of 16,500 dogs. On average, these dogs collectively deposit approximately 12,000 lbs of waste every day and 4.4 million lbs every year. For perspective, that is the equivalent of 55 tractor trailers fully loaded with dog doo. That is a lot of waste.
What's the big deal?
Dog waste is an environmental pollutant. In 1991, it was labeled a non-point source pollutant by the Environmental Protection Agency, placing it in the same category as herbicides and insecticides; oil, grease and toxic chemicals; and acid drainage from abandoned mines. According to the EPA, two or three days worth of droppings from a population of about 100 dogs can contribute enough bacteria to temporarily close a bay and all watershed areas within 20 miles to swimming and shell fishing.
In addition, unattended pet waste presents a number of human health hazards to families, communities and their pets. Bacteria, worms and other parasites thrive in waste, eventually washing away into the water supply. Ringworm, roundworm, salmonella and giardia are examples of such bacteria, all of which are found in dog feces and are easily transferable upon contact.
What can you do?The most responsible action pet owners can take for their family, community and environment is to make sure their pets are picked up after. Pet owners who do not have enough time to deal with the waste - or simply don't want to - should consider hiring a local pet waste removal service to handle the dirty work.