78.2 Million Dogs in the USA and Growing… What’s the scoop with the poop?

Since getting into the dog waste business I am continually amazed at the number of stories and issues that are raised by people disagreeing around the subject of dog waste disposal.  It often becomes a very heated subject and also a very comical one; at least for those not involved in the dispute (the scene with Jim Carey comes to mind from the movie The Mask…).  So why is this such a controversial subject?
Many dog households understand the importance and necessity to manage their pets waste in a responsible way, but others ask ‘what’s the big deal’.  Well the big deal is that there are an estimated 78.2 million domestic dogs here in the US (1) and historically this number is increasing annually (and correlates closely to the number of households in the US).  78.2 million dogs is a lot of dogs!  To help put this in perspective the estimated resident population of the UK (United Kingdom) was 61.8 million people in mid-2009. For me, visualizing the population of the UK and correlating that with the number of dogs in the US really brings home the fact that if a significant percentage of our dog owning population do not follow recommended dog waste management etiquette it is be a very big deal and we will all be in quite a mess, literally!
Most of us will agree that public parks, walk ways and trails are not public bathrooms for dogs, or people. There are just too many of us, dogs and people, sharing an ever decreasing amount of land to act carelessly and without regard for our neighbor’s mutual enjoyment of our public spaces.  Many years ago the public health challenges caused by the improper treatment and disposal of human waste became apparent and as a result in developed countries we now have extensive sewage systems and all new housing developments include sewage facilities.  I have no doubt that the evolution of pet waste management can be likened to the evolution of our own waste management and litter management,  in that as the need grows the solutions will follow and in the future communities will be designed to include the management of and disposal of pet waste.  However in the meantime, despite the differing policies of different cities ‘all’ dog owners need to take personal responsibility for their dogs in this area.
Dogs like people can be potty trained.  Also dogs, like people, cannot always hold it in until they get home and thus public toilets/facilities for dogs do need to be provided.  To this end there are a growing number of dog parks, or areas designated within a park especially for dogs and these areas contain facilities to handle dog waste.  Many parks that do not have designated dog areas do provide public waste bins and waste bags for dog owners who may occasionally get caught in need; but this is not a cart blanche pass to use the public space as their dogs regular toilet spot, or to take the ‘free’ bags from the dispenser by the handful to use elsewhere.   Manufacturers have designed numerous tools to help with pet waste management both in and around the home, in the yard as well as when taking dogs out on walks and hikes.
  With 78.2 million dogs and more on the way, if we want to continue to enjoy the company of our dogs out and about in public places we need to ‘all’ recognize our responsibility to be part of the solutions for achieving excellent waste management.   (1) The APPA (American Pet Products Assoc.) has been tracking statistics on the pet industry, including the number of pets per household since 1988.  In 2002 the US had approximately 109.3 households of which 36.59% were dog owners.  These 40 million households had a total of 68 million dogs, giving an average of 1.7 dogs per households with dog.  In 2011 we have an estimated 117.6 million households in the US of which 39.37% are households with dogs totaling an estimated 78.2 million dog’s