News & Culture in Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill and Points Nearby
January 20, 2021
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News + Views

The Ugly Truth About Dog Droppings

By Lisa M. Collins

Warning : The following photo is slightly gross.

Dog Poop 2

Abandoned dog leaving in public green space feels like middle finger to society.

The ugly truth about dog poop is that it tears us apart. It may even harm us in a spiritual way.

Dog poop makes us angry at each other, sometimes simply when we see it, but more often, if we or our children or visiting friends step in it, which is not good. I know that babies screaming in what would otherwise be a romantic restaurant also makes us angry. And when we trip on the sidewalk because there’s a big uneven piece of cement, that can make us angry. Or when people stand in the middle of the entrance to the crosswalk or loiter with large strollers or in social packs in the middle of the sidewalk.

But this matter of excrement is more easily preventable, because it is not about being spaced out. It’s about being lazy!

On Valentine’s Day, I rushed into my apartment to change clothes so that I could deliver myself, my sizeable baby and a tray of muffins to a party at the elementary school.

As I’m rushing about, trying with one hand to keep the baby from getting into the muffins, and with the other hand, tearing off my shoe, I feel my fingers stick in something gooey.

I sniff something off-color.

I look down.

You guessed it.

If you just ate or you are currently eating, I’m sorry. But yes, I had a hand full of dog mess.

Which prompted this manifesto. It’s not a Fatwah against dog owners, as has been suggested on the beloved Bococa email listserve.

Because, as I’m sure you know if you live in Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, or Boerum Hill, the issue of ungainly items left on the sidewalk has gotten worse around here.

And yes, it is against the law, to not clean up after your dog.

An angry commenter on the Bococa listserv suggested photographing human offenders – dog walkers who choose to ignore their dog’s droppings post-delivery onto the sidewalk. The writer suggests that observers photograph the dog walker, and turn the photograph over to the police. Another writer suggested staking out the dog and walker for a normal time of the offense, and tracking this information and reporting it to the police.

I guess the police officers would then canvass the neighborhood to find the dog in question, or the dog walker, because the dog is not the criminal here. The fine runs at $250.

Why the uptick in this sort of crime?

Some surmise it’s the cold weather, that dog owners are just too cold to bend down and pick it up with those little baggies. Or maybe the baggies are hard to open in cold weather?

I remember once, years ago, I had the feeling in Carroll Gardens that people with babies and people with dogs didn’t like each other. That there were dog people and there were baby people, and rarely the twain should meet. This feeling was intensified one day when my little one at the time was yelling her head off and her face was covered with unsightly slobber, and she was refusing to put on her hat or gloves even though there was wet, freezing snow all around, and ice, and, if I remember correctly, she had a gross icicle hanging from her nose. She was making a scene. A woman walked slowly by, eyeing us carefully, and giving us an, “I’m disgusted in this display,” type of look. And then, her bulldog stopped, lifted his leg, and urinated all over the sidewalk and yellowing the snow. And I thought to myself, “The baby is loud, yes, but at least she does not pee on the sidewalk.” I felt superior for a brief while until it was potty training time, and then, well, we became a public menace.

So, this should not be a war. This isn’t about babies and dogs. I don’t think I’m upset about dog ca ca because I have a baby.  I think it’s just that people I know have lately been accidentally stepping in it.

Dog owners are the most greatly offended, from what I’ve been told, about abandoned droppings in public spaces, because most of dog owners pick up after their own dogs and don’t want a bad reputation. Also, dogs have been known to step and, sometimes, to roll in other dogs’ leavings, which creates a terrible mess.

This is just sort of a plea. A plea to anyone reading who has a dog:

Please pick up the poop.

If you see someone ignoring the law and common decency, yell out, “Hey, offender, please pick up the ca ca! We as a community are watching!”


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