The No. 1 priority of one new Grovetown business is your pet's No. 2.
In May, Dale and Emel Roberts formed Doggie Biz, a pet waste removal service based in Columbia County.
The Grovetown couple, looking to buy a franchise or start their own business, came across the idea and decided to run with it.
"We saw how popular it was across the country as well as in Georgia," Mrs. Roberts said, adding that Atlanta is home to four or five pet waste removal businesses. "We'd never heard of it. We're animal lovers and we thought the community would receive it well."
Mrs. Roberts said she and her husband get a few strange looks, crinkled noses and even some giggles when they tell others about their small business.
Doggie Biz offers clean and safe removal of dog and cat waste. They visit homes up to three times each week armed with a bucket and rake to remove dog waste from yards and to exchange used kitty litter boxes with fresh ones. Similar businesses are based in North Augusta and Hephzibah.
Schedules can be arranged and customized according to customers' needs.
"We also do (yards) if someone just wants that one time (clean-up). Maybe they are having a party in their back yard or they are having some type of event and they are getting ready and they don't have time to clean up," said Mrs. Roberts, who also works as a practice manager for a physician.
Doggie Biz will regularly change out bucket liners for residents who prefer to pick up pet waste from their own property. But many residents, Mr. Roberts said, lead busy lives and don't have time to clean up.
The service is especially helpful for residents with small yards or condos, large dogs or many pets.
Using a formula provided by the U.S. Census Bureau, Columbia County Animal Care and Control Manager Linda Fulmer estimated there are about 15,000 dog-owning households in Columbia County and more than 13,000 cat-owning households.
"People really need to know the hazards of dog waste," said Mr. Roberts, who also is a Richmond County sheriff's deputy.
"It really needs to be picked up. It doesn't need to be in the yard. It doesn't just go away."
Pet waste can harbor bacteria and parasites, including Parvo, and round, hook, tape and whip worms. All those can be transferred to other animals and can be dangerous to humans, especially children, Mrs. Roberts said.
"Children put things in their mouths. They rub their eyes," Mrs. Roberts said. "Health-wise, it is good (to remove pet waste)."
Because all tools and footwear are sterilized with bleach after each appointment, there is no need to worry about transference of bacteria or parasites.
Doggie Biz complies with the Environmental Protection Agency's regulations for disposing of pet waste by double-bagging it before it is sent to a landfill, Mr. Roberts said.
But the service isn't just for residents.
"We offer solutions for apartment complexes, dog parks, city parks, any off-leash dog parks," Mrs. Roberts said, adding that Doggie Biz also can work out a pet waste removal solution for neighborhood homeowners associations.
For more information about Doggie Biz, call (706) 825-4239, or visit online at www.doggiebiz.net.
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