Dog poop is problem for people

This column deals with the matter of dog poop. There are those people who do not understand just how offensive dog leavings are for people, especially those with active young children.

Our next door neighbors just don’t want their kids stepping into the unsanitary mess. They are right, of course. We don’t allow humans to make deposits on the street of any kind but we do expect that dog owners, and there are a lot of us, obey the rules.

Most of us do. You can always tell who the law-abiding folks are because of the telltale bags that we carry with us. If you see someone who is walking a dog and you can’t spot the pick-up equipment, you may well have a bad citizen on your hands.

We all know when we have stepped in the stuff because all too often we get into our houses and smell the odor that can only mean one thing. For those of us with ridges in our shoe soles we then have to risk the unsanitary procedure of taking a sharp object to get the stuff off our walking apparel.

Then we have to decide where to put what we have scraped away. No matter how much we think we have done to eliminate the residue from our shoes there is always the sense that it is still there. It is sort of like the gift that keeps giving.

So who are the folks who don’t pick up after their dogs? Well, some of them are just plain trouble. They certainly know that they are supposed to pick up but they just don’t want to do it. Let’s face it, there are many people in this world who like to test the rules. You will see them speeding along our highways even though they know full well that they risk police ticketing them. I’ve always believed that it is the thrill of the contest that motivates these law-breakers. In the case of dog poop there really are no police to catch the culprits.

Then there is the lazy dog owner who just opens the door and allows the dogs to run out in the street and to come back at their leisure. I suppose that these folks have absolutely no concern where their dogs do their business. These are what we might call compartmentalizers. They just think about what is good for them and don’t stop to think about the consequences of their actions. We have just a few such people in our neighborhood.

Then there are the people who take their dogs for a walk “off leash.” The dog runs behind them and way up in front of them. They certainly are not looking to see what their animals are doing. I have one such culprit in mind and I never see him carrying a bag. I should mention that the bigger the dog the bigger the potential poop deposit.

Of course, there are the anti-social types who get off on having people annoyed with them. Yes, there are such people. It makes them feel important and the angrier people get, the happier they are. They need psychiatric help but are not going to get it.

So what do we do when we catch someone at it? Do we pass them on the street and say, “Thanks for picking up” when we know that they have no such intention? Do we walk up to offenders who have not picked up and say, “Are you going to pick that up?” No one really wants to do that but some people have the guts to do it. I once had a neighbor on Fire Island where people often walked barefoot who always called people on that kind of bad behavior.

Then there is my way, you write a column about it and that absolves you of having to take direct action of the type mentioned above.

Originally published in the Berkshire Eagle, 7/12/14

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