Who Let the Dogs Out
Apologies for putting that Baha Men earworm in your head for the next 10 minutes, but what better lead into this seemingly random collection of dog poop facts? That's right. Dornbos Sign and Safety is proud to present you this PSA about stepping up, so others don't step in it.
Why You Should Pick Up Your Dog's Poop
Apart from being a horrible nuisance - has anyone enjoyed scraping dog poop off their shoes?! - dog poop accumulating on grass can actually damage the grass, given its high levels of nitrogen. Ever put too much fertilizer in one spot? It can cause burn spots!
Even worse, dog poop contains fecal coliform bacteria (over 20 million per gram), which can cause diarrhea, stomach and intestinal cramps, and worse if ingested. The feces can also cause a roundworm infection called toxocariasis; dog poop is chock full of other worms and germs. Unattended, the bacteria can end up in the water supply. Furthermore, anyone who has ever had a toddler knows that they will put anything in their little mouths!
Reusing and Recycling Dog Poop
Now that you've finished gagging, did you know that you can put turds to work? An obvious way to make use of dog nuggets is composting - just not for growing edible veggies and away from water sources like streams and wetlands. Dog poop composting is done separately from your regular compost. You can buy dog poo compost bins at pet stores, or you can dig a 1x1 yard compost pit and get a cover for it. Offer up poop pieces every few days -- just shovel them into the dirt and cover with grass/plant clippings or wood shavings, cover, and let Nature do her work. You can speed up the process initially by adding a base layer of regular compost.
Vermicomposting is an option that is becoming increasingly popular. Very simply, it's using worms to compost materials to remove the dangerous pathogens so you end up with a higher quality fertilizer that you can safely use on your vegetable garden. The key to vermiposting is to include fruit/veggie peelings and/or coffee grounds so that the worms are happier to dig in.
Fuel For Thought
City authorities have been trying to curb dog owners from simply walking away from the doo doo for years. Cities in Spain have been particularly...creative...in this regard. Madrid tried handing out millions of complementary poop bags, and even brought in a regime whereby people caught not picking up after their dogs could do street cleaning or pay a hefty fine. One of Madrid's suburbs, Brunete, went so far as to deploy volunteers to spy on dog walkers. These individuals would innocently ask for the dogs' names. The City would cross-check dog names with information on the mandatory pet registry, box up the precious poop, and mail it to the dog owners. Tarragona purports to use DNA testing to ascertain poopers' identities, and Colmenar Viejo used the services of a private detective to gather evidence to support the issuance of fines.
In Ontario, Canada, some cities' waste management systems use special bins in parks for dog feces, which are then sent to a facility that turns them into biogas through a process called anaerobic digestion. Whatever remains can be used as a fertilizer.
Seeing the Signs
What some cities have noticed is that peer pressure is the best way to deter dog doo doo deniers, observing that when people are around, owners are more likely to pick up after their canine companions. Signs are also a great way to remind people of their responsibilities as pet owners, whether they warn of impending fines or bring humor to a stinky situation. No one wants to start the morning off seeing dog piles on their front lawn. Take a look at some of these clever dog poo related signs. Why not put a smile on someone's face and gently nudge neighbors to do the right thing?
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