Keep it clean, Downtown Springfield!

What’s up with all this poo? You see it on the sidewalks. You see it in the grass. Why does Downtown have such a poo problem? When nature calls for our furry four-legged friends, they’re just going to stop and squat. And let’s face it, dogs lack the opposable thumbs us two-legged owners have, so it’s up to us to pick it up!

So, Dr. Skinner here, and we are talking about poop today. Poop…aka, excrement, feces, doo-doo, dropping, dung, scat, waste, stool, NIGHT SOIL (for reals though) and manure (at least those are the G-rated synonyms). Did you know the Food and Drug Administration estimates a dog produces about ¾ pounds of stool per day That’s three Quarter Pounders…A DAY! If you are reading this and you have a dog, you should be picking up over 270 pounds of dog poop per year.

TANGENT: That is a little heavier than my husband…I am trying to envision three of my husbands laying outside on the grass representing my three dog’s poop piles…

Anyhow, I know that is a lot of work, picking up all that stool, but you gotta do it. Here’s why; poop is gross. It’s just gross. We all know it’s gross…it smells bad, it comes out of the back end (anything that comes outta the back end of anything is yucky waste), we are all repulsed by it (my big sister gags and throws up when she has to clean it up), and when it leaves the body it’s always left behind (aside from the occasional coprophagic…poop eater…dog). So even without a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine or Microbiological degree, we inherently know it’s disgusting.

With that Veterinary and Microbiological degree, however, you get a more intimate look at poo and not just respect it but also respect the implications to the environment and to other animals including us Humans.

And what does that intimate look at poo give us Veterinarians? Let’s find out, shall we!? Hookworms (grab onto your feet and make itchy tracks in your feet and up your legs), Roundworms (can be found in the eyes of humans!), tapeworms (I saw a National Geographic picture once of a tapeworm being wound around a stick as the guy was pulling it out of his leg…blech), Parvovirus (poor baby puppies, many die), Coronavirus, Giardia (Beaver Fever-causes human diarrhea too), Salmonella (everyone knows of this, can be life threatening to people), Cryptosporidium (a few veterinary students at my school were hospitalized with this one), Campylobacter, Whipworms…these are just the common ones found right in the poop you’re stepping over or IN on the streets and sidewalks of downtown Springfield.

Now it’s my turn – Jeana the downtowner. The Community Improvement District has graciously provided Downtown with free doggie waste bags. They’re located on most of the green trash cans on the street corners. Not sure what to look for, check out the photo of my handsome dog Miguel next to one of those trash cans at the top of this article for reference. Also, right in the heart of Downtown, on the south side of the square is a pet waste station with, you guessed it, poo bags! We’ll be working with the DSA to provide a digital map with the location of all our pet waste stations downtown, so stay tuned for that!

A trash can with a Dogi Pot attached to it

We read a study on poop pickup around the Chesapeake Bay region. It said owners who didn’t pick up their poo didn’t do so because it was too much work. But if confronted by neighbors, threatened with fines, or provided with more sanitary and convenient options for disposing of the poop, they would still refuse. Why? If I lived somewhere I certainly wouldn’t want to step in the poo and traipse through other businesses and my loft or smear it on my car floor.

Here are some options that you can use to help decrease the poo population:

  • Grocery Sacks (you know you have a stockpile of those in your laundry room!)
  • Old Ziploc bags
  • Pooper Scooper/Grabber
  • Paper Towels (great options for our environmentally friendly as well as if you have a snotty nose!)
  • Pet Waste Bags with attachable dispenser and leash clip (available at pet stores & online)

Short snippet…poop may or may not be a good fertilizer. Some research supports it is other research supports it is not. If we were talking about spreading it on a field that’d be another topic all together. Let’s stop spreading it all over the cement and the small amount of grass in the downtown where kids like to play and we like to walk barefoot.

Until next time, Downtown!

Cheers,

Jeana & Dr. Skinner

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