Strange how the seasons trigger annual events causing thoughts that you just feel compelled to write about. I'd forgotten about this article, written almost a year ago. The daily problem it refers to is still with us, only even greater, so I thought it might be worthwhile to have another go round with it...you know, update it, see what's happened in a year, what's been solved.
The question is:
How do apartment dwelling dogs manage to poo when they need to?
How do they manage?
- Would the dogs just hold it and stay in for as long as the emergency lasted? Could be a few days.
- How would you and the dogs get down those many flights of emergency stairs? Do you go recklessly into danger, or is there another solution?
This was one of those really random thoughts that come into my mind sometimes.
Most of the dogs around here seem to have their own free standing homes for toileting activities.
But what about dogs and their owners who live in apartments?
What happens to IT?
Right on the heels of that thought comes another. What happens to all that poop if and when the dog owner picks it up? Does it go in the garbage? I doubt that many actually carefully put it down the toilet. There are all the plastic bags too, that they use to contain the excreta. Plastic bags in our oceans and landfills have become one of the greatest threats to our future.
Most landfills do not officially or knowingly accept feces of any kind. This is because once they're in the landfill they do not decompose, but they do contaminate water, and they are the source of methane gas. But even though they can introduce dangerous pathogens, really, once they're in that garbage, who's to know? A lot of environmental responsibility falls on the shoulders of their owners.
How 'bout some DNA?
Apparently, dog owners do NOT collect over 4 million tons of dog waste per year, just in North America. This waste is from an estimated 71 million dogs.
This is an amazing, and as you can imagine, very serious and increasing problem. There are more dogs than children by far in apartment blocks. The wanton disregard of dog owners has forced landlords to now have up front payment for a doggie DNA test when they move in, and hefty fines for a dog owner if their animal is the culprit of non-scooped poop.
The average dog produces 152 pounds of solid waste per year.
In a city of 100,000 people, dogs can generate 2 ½ tonnes of faeces per day.
1 gram of dog faeces contains over 20 million E. Coli bacteria.
Plastic bags can take up to a 1000 years to decompose in landfill.
Dog waste 3rd or 4th on the list of contributors to bacteria in contaminated waters.
Any of you noticed those little green bags left indiscriminately on trails or other beautiful backwoods places? No one around? Maybe it's just me, but in my harsher moments I tend to think a dog owner has dutifully scooped into the bag, but not completed the final act...taking the stuff with them, instead of hoping someone would pick it up.
Doggie poo is 3rd or 4th on the list of major bacterial water contaminants
It's estimated that 20-30% of all pollutants occurring in waterways are actually from dog poo; from sewer runoff to defecating on the beach and near streams.
Not all so-called biodegradable bags meet the national grading system,
What's the best way then?
The best method for disposal is to flush them. But, hold on! You need flushable bags. This is the time to think deeply about your dog's contribution to the 27,000 TONS of waste produced each day just in North America.
But if they don't say "flushable" you can't flush them!
I've been writing about apartment dwelling dogs, but if you're in a home with a garden, note there are two other ways to dispose of your doggie doo doo.
- If you have a vermiculture composting system, that works well. Those little worms will deal with anything, and it's not as gross as it sounds.
- You can buy special composters for this purpose, often at your pet store. Check out this site! http://uniquedistributors.com/doggiedooley1.html
But please, don't use your home garden composter for this purpose. It's not safe, and it's very smelly.
The scoop on the 'dirt'
Several companies have arisen after being inspired by the sheer bulk and fiber in various vegetarian animal droppings.
You can buy sheep paper, elephant and hippo paper, all using 100% poo. It's an interesting process, using ancient technology, and of course naturally occurring prolific animal “dumpers.”
This article has actually been fermenting inside me for some while now, waiting for the moment I would have an attentive and caring audience. Hope you don't feel it's an unfair “dump” on you.