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The Timeline of aPaws

Date: 1/4/2023

The Association of Professional Animal Waste Specialists was formed at the urging of Laura Sprinkles of NIMBY Services based in Fife, Washington. It was January 19, 2002 when 12 individuals representing 10 different scooping companies converged in Las Vegas, NV to form a trade organization known today as aPaws. The idea was to raise the public awareness and the professionalism of this relatively new industry. We also wanted to be able to recommend other professionals to our customers when they had to move out of our service area. 

The mission of the Association of Professional Animal Waste Specialists (aPaws) is to increase the level of professionalism in the animal waste industry, to raise the level of the public's awareness of our profession, and to create added benefits for our members.

While the following persons are deemed to be original founders of the Association of Professional Animal Waste Specialists (aPaws) and took part in the founding and formation of aPaws on and before January, 2002:

Laura Sprinkles - East Fife, WA;
Mike Silverberg - Lake Forrest, CA;
Debra Levy - Maryland Heights, MO;
Melinda Hoffmann - Bend, OR;
Jerry Glass - Springfield, OH;
Timothy & Maria Stone - Santa Clarita, CA;
Maryellen Levy - Port Monmouth, NJ;
Eric & Becca Riker - Cleveland, OH;
Floyd Seres - Orange County, CA;
Ron Vecchio - Belmore, NY;

The organization has had 8 different presidents and over 30 different board members participating in several different capacities as vice-presidents, secretaries, treasurers and board members at large, in the years that followed. Each one contributing to building the organization by donating their time and talent in the planning process and finding & compiling useful information for the benefits of the members.

Any member can look at the Meeting Minutes archives from day one and see that there were a lot of obstacles and hurdles to face in forming a new, non-profit organization. Besides all the legal barriers, the organization had countless hours of discussion when it came to the formation, structure and policies that needed to be put in place in order to become a respectable trade organization. The following is a brief time line of some of milestones that have taken place over the years.

  • Incorporated February 13, 2002.
  • Within the next month, the official aPaws seal and name is designed,  created and voted on, then digitized by Becca Riker of Happy Tails Pet Services. (I think) A rudimentary website is produced where members had to be added manually by whoever knew how to build web pages.
  • By April, 2002 we had 27 charter members.
  • March 28, 2003 - aPaws receives 501(c)(6) status for non profit trade organization thanks to the hard work of Mike Z. of Poopie Scoopers R-US & Sir Scoop.
  • May 2003 Official by-laws are passed and put into effect.
  • January 2004 - the 1st  annual meeting of pooper scoopers, sponsored by aPaws in Bend, OR - Gets snowed out for a majority of attendees. Many that couldn’t make it re-routed to St. Louis, MO where Deb Levy of Yucko’s hosted a gathering of pooper scoopers.
  • February 2004 - the Dog and Cat mascot of aPaws is created and designed by Debra Sullivan of Rover’s Leftovers Poop Patrol.
  • 2005 - membership reaches 81 members.
  • 2006 - Turd Herding contest gets sponsored for the first time. Dogipot became the first sponsor of our Turd Herding contests, where the attendees would race against the clock to obtain bragging rights as being the fastest pooper scooper.
  • 2007 - Convention has a record 51 in attendance. Of course, it was Las Vegas!
  • 2007 - Our third and current website is designed and becomes mostly automated by 2008, with the help of The Rikter Corp.
  • 2008 - Membership nearly reaches 200 but drops drastically due to the recession.
  • January 13, 2009 - aPaws seal finally receives registered trademark.
  • January 27, 2009 - aPaws’ name receives registered trademark.
  • 2010 - Turd Herding contest officially changes name to Scooper Bowl.
  • 2012 - Scooper Bowl name gets changed back to Turd Herding due to possible trademark infringement of certain ice cream company.
  • 2012 - The online discussion board is ultimately archived and made obsolete by the implementation of the Facebook Members Only Group and the aPaws public Facebook Group.
  • 2012 - The first time Name that Turd game is played. Which means someone had to collect the turds, document the turds and transport them to Las Vegas so a group of pooper scooper can decide and debate what kind of dog ate what kind of food and pooped it!
  • 2013 - Annual convention converts to Biennial on the odd years due to time constraints and growing businesses of the different board members.
  • 2014 - Since most of the initial formation and policies of aPaws have been set, 2 Board Members at Large positions are deprecated, giving the organization a 5 person board. The board now consists of the President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer and 1 Board Member at Large.
  • 2016 - aPaws website starts to receive a facelift with the design and with the inclusion of additional categories for member to promote their additional pet related services, like pet walking, pet sitting, etc.
  • 2017 - aPaws’ mascots are designed to conform to the location of the convention for the t-shirts. Huh? The dog and cat in the aPaws logo are now in the setting of the host city, just because we can. In this case, the event was in Nashville so the dog and cat were playing musical instruments along with a rag tag team of other musicians in a downtown Nashville sort of way.
  • 2019 - After over 12 years of state of the art web site design and function, aPaws.org gets a face lift with a newer, modern design adding easier functionality and edits on the part of the board members.
  • 2019 - aPaws proudly presents the launch of a new pooper scooper app developed by Ogosense after 2 years of development and consultation from several different pooper scooper companies.
  • 2021 - During a supposed world wide pandemic, aPaws decides to have a convention in the “open state” of Florida. It’s attended by over 40 pooper scooper from around the country representing 20 different companies.

The early years of aPaws had a lot of ups and downs, but most of those issues have been ironed out. There’s not a whole lot to do these days except plan for the biennial conventions. Anyone who’s served on the board will tell you that the cites we go to are mostly cities that my wife, Maria, and I always wanted to visit. Of course the board votes on it, we just make some suggestions. Wink wink.

aPaws has sponsored conventions in St. Louis, Bend, Oregon, (because no one knows where Bend is), Houston, Orlando, Las Vegas - twice, Atlanta, Nashville - twice, San Diego, St. Pete’s Beach, Florida, (see Bend Oregon) Chicago, Newark, Sarasota, and Panama City.

You know, I say that with tongue in cheek, there’s actually a lot more that aPaws can and should do as an organization besides plan conventions. With today’s technology and forever changing business climate, there’s always things that can be done to promote this industry. Wouldn’t it be great to have our own SIC code? Wouldn’t it be fantastic for Google to have Pooper Scooper, or Pet Waste Removal or Dog Poop Pick Up as a drop down category for their business page? How about being able to support our own general liability insurance program at a discounted rate? We could do that with 800 companies! We just have to get on the same page in unison, and have people in place that have the time to do it.

After 20 years of aPaws with many early board members and regular members moving on, and some passing on, and a lot of “new blood” joining the organization, I would say that this industry is and will continue to grow exponentially. I personally started pre-internet, when there were about 5 known pooper scooper companies in the U.S. Now, 35 years later, I can only guess that there are over 800 companies of varying sizes who have made a successful business out of a 10 year old’s chore. Yes, I trademarked that saying, so don’t use it. Just kidding.

Article written by: Timothy Stone - Scoop Masters