The average dog produces about 12 ounces of waste every day. That doesn’t seem like much — about what a can of soup weighs. But multiply that by the estimated half a billion dogs in the world, and in a year you wind up with around 74 million tons of poop.
In case you’re wondering how much that is, it would cover New York’s Central Park to a depth of nearly 25 miles, or fill Boeing’s airplane production facility in Everett, Washington nearly 10,000 times. The U.S. alone accounts for about one-seventh of that total.
That’s definitely a metric poop load — and it’s even more disconcerting when you realize that all of that waste has to go somewhere. Dog feces are an environmental pollutant, and can spread all kinds of bacteria and parasites. There are companies that specialize in removing that waste, as well as others that provide waste bag and disposal stations for apartment communities.
The rise of “pooper scooper” laws
Despite all of this, quite a lot of that poop remains where the dog left it, as you’ve probably discovered if you’ve ever felt that familiar but unpleasant “squish” on the bottom of your shoe. And yet, it wasn’t until the late 1970s that New York became the first big city to pass a mandatory “pooper scooper” law.
It wasn’t easy, either. Dog lovers feared that it was the first step to banning dogs in the city altogether, and a nearly eight-year long battle ensued before the law went into effect on August 1, 1978. San Francisco soon followed suit at the instigation of city councilmember Harvey Milk, and many other jurisdictions created their own laws. Nowadays, it’s hard to find a place, at least in the U.S., where it isn’t illegal to leave your dog’s mess behind.
The big problem with pooper scooper laws is, of course, compliance. If people don’t happen to have a scoop or baggie handy or they think that no one is looking, they might be inclined to leave that lawn biscuit alone. That’s why, in many places, people have come up with more creative ways to get people to clean up after themselves, whether by providing incentive or casting shame. Here are just a few of those methods.
So what does happen to all of that collected poop? Currently, the best solution is counterintuitive. Unlike human waste, which goes through sewage treatment plants, the best way to neutralize the bacteria and parasites in dog poop is to bury it in a landfill, where the pathogens are baked away.
Ideally, the biogas generator idea will catch on and one day we’ll be able to light Central Park with dog waste instead of burying it under it. In the meantime, be a good Pack Leader and pick up after your pooch!
What interesting solutions have been used in your neighborhood to deal with the poop problem? Tell us in the comments.
At Cesar’s Way, we strive to be a single pack, and packs have rules, boundaries, and limitations. Here are ours for the comments:
Also, please note that because of volume, we are unable to respond to individual comments, although we do watch them in order to learn what issues and questions are most common so that we can produce content that fulfills your needs. You are welcome to share your own dog tips and behavior solutions among yourselves, however. Thank you for reading our articles and sharing your thoughts with the pack!