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My dog poop, your trash. Is there a problem?


Dear Abby tackled one of the finer points of dog poop etiquette yesterday, but I’m going to have to disagree with her advice on this one.

“My wife and I were walking our terriers one evening when one had to answer nature’s call,” a reader wrote. “Being responsible dog owners, I picked up the ‘deposit’ with a bag we carry for such occasions.

“It was garbage pickup day and the neighbors’ trash cans were out at the curb, so at the next house I placed the bag in the trash can. My wife, family and co-workers all think this was not appropriate — that I should have carried it home and disposed of it in our trash can.

“Abby, we were 15 minutes from home, but given the choice, I would rather not carry that bag and figured a garbage bin is a garbage bin. I’ll abide by your answer and admit I was wrong if you say so.”

It was signed “Pooped Out in North Carolina.”

Abby’s response: “As long as the bag was securely sealed, I don’t think adding it to someone’s trash bin was a social no-no.”

Had he written Dear ohmidog! we would have told him this — after first asking, “How can you be in front of a neighbor’s house and 15 minutes from home?”

Since it was garbage day, and the event occured at night, that means the poop bag would remain in the neighbor’s trash bin for several days (a week in my Baltimore neighborhood), until the next collection. While a person’s trash may no longer be their property, their bin is, and thus you have no right to put your dog’s poop in it — no matter how securely sealed it may be.

While there are some neighbors that might be cool about this, myself included, it’s bad form, and gives the anti-dog crowd something to complain about. If there are no public trash receptacles available — or even a community dumpster — pack your poop all the way home.

That’s my take. What’s your’s?

(Photo from the flickr page of left-hand)


Comment from jen
Time September 22, 2009 at 9:00 am

I used to beat myself up every Sunday night through Monday afternoon about this. Is poo trash? I think so. I throw my sealed bags in the lid-less trashcans in my neighborhood. Monday’s fair game. If the can has not been taken back to the house by our 3 PM walkie, it’s asking for trash.
We have a lady who lives in our neighborhood, and her house is surrounded by dogs and kids. She hates both! Not sure why she moved here, but I know I love seeking out her can for Monday poos.

Comment from Derek
Time September 22, 2009 at 9:57 am

I used to toss the poo in any garbage can I came across, regardless of the day. However, I now only toss it in somebody else’s trash can if it is the evening before pick-up. Otherwise, I haul the stinky bag all over the neighborhood, which is usually for most of the walk since my dog always goes pretty much the second we are far enough away from the house to make it not worth turning around to drop off the poo bag.

Comment from Nancy
Time September 23, 2009 at 2:15 pm

Be a good neighbor! Take it home or deposit in a city receptacle that is picked up on a daily basis. Keep a metal, not
plastic, covered container in your yard for your dog. Metal does
not retain odor as much. Then toss on trash day!

Comment from susan
Time September 25, 2009 at 9:44 am

I agree with you. I never put the bag in someone else’s trash bin. Ever. I might toss in an empty water bottle but dog poo is a different breed of trash. I always carry it unless I’m coming back the same way, in which case, I might hide it in a brush pile by the road and get it on the way back.

Comment from LOUISE
Time September 28, 2009 at 5:54 pm


Comment from penelope
Time August 30, 2010 at 3:28 pm

Many of my neighbors put their dog poop in our private trash bin…it’s so smelly we can’t open the bin without almost fainting! I have asked the owners to stop and they say NO! It has to be against the law…they have their own trash, it’s their dog, why not take it home? I find it disgusting and rude, and trashy as well…pun intended.

Comment from Jimbo
Time September 18, 2010 at 3:06 pm

California state law requires a bin for each address and those bins are private property of the resident. If you decided to own a dog you decided to carry and deal with its feces and its odors. Passing it off on strangers and neighbors just makes me dislike dog owners in general, especially people that decided to own several big dogs and that refuse to leave the poop in their own rubbish bins.

Comment from Social Norm
Time October 20, 2010 at 11:24 am

Twenty years ago no dog owner picked up their dog poop outside of NYC. Slowly NYC scooper laws spread from urban areas to suburbs and throughout the country. However, the disposal of this bag should be in a trash bin – ANYONE’S trash bin that is in an alley or on the curb. There can be no compromise on this matter as it is not part of the law or the societal norm and certainly not reasonable. The alternative is leaving the poop on your yard.

Comment from Angry
Time December 28, 2010 at 3:40 pm

Okay listen, it’s NOT okay to put your dog poop in someone elses trash can. For one, it ends up STAYING in the bottom of the can after the garbage men come (would you please come and get it out??). Two, I pay for my garbage disposal service. No one should put ANYTHING in my can. Three, yesterday it was windy and I swear to God my cans blew over and there was not one but TWO small bags of dog poop that fell out on to the ground in front of my house. Now I actually have to pick it up and put back in my can so that it will stay there for who knows how long?? People with dogs are just filthy animals themselves. That’s what this all makes me think. I WISH I would catch whoever it is doing it when they do it so I can give them a piece of my mind. I am very aggravated over this because the two bags of poop are in front of my house as I write this. If I knew where they lived i would throw it back at their house. Just disgusting people!!!

Comment from Dotherightthing
Time October 31, 2011 at 10:05 pm

It is NOT okay to put poop in someone else’s pail. I am not sure why someone would think it is okay. It is soooo rude!

Comment from Tracey
Time January 30, 2012 at 7:49 pm

I find it amazing that you actually wrote “People with dogs are just filthy animals themselves”. Do you honestly believe that? I am a nurse, AND a responsible dog owner – I bag up my dog’s bowel movements and dispose of them properly, even if that means carrying the bag 2 miles, and immediately go inside and wash my hands. That makes me a filthy animal? You sound like a cold-hearted, unfeeling person to me. I understand why you might be upset about people putting the bags in your garbage, but guess what? some of us “filthy animals” might prefer to simply leave the pile sun-soaked in your driveway? Hell I might do it just because of your narcissist attitude. Maybe that’s why your neighbors are doing it – if you speak to them the way you do on here about others, there’s a good chance they’re trying to give you a hint about something…

Comment from Joe
Time April 7, 2012 at 10:18 pm

Hi ‘Neighbors’.

I’ve had a similar problem with at least 3 dog owners. I could never catch them in the ‘act’ as they were dropping the stuff under cover of darkness. So, I bought a nice video system and began to watch. Sure enough, I got a nice picture of one of the ‘perps’. It took a couple of months, but I stayed up late one nite and followed him home (in my car). Then, I sent him an anonymous letter. If he does it again, I’ll get the police involved. I was sorely tempted to leave the bag on his car, but that could start an escalating ‘range war’ here.

Like the photographer, I’ll wait to see ‘what develops’.

Comment from Anonymous
Time June 28, 2012 at 9:54 pm

Tell me where you live so I can put it in your garbage can

Comment from Anonymous
Time July 7, 2012 at 11:28 pm

On trash days, my can is on the street. Some lady picks up her dog shit with a black bag like a glove and puts it loose in my garbage can. Even if it were bagged the garbage men may not get it as they expect large bags. Small ones often remain after trash day. So why should I have to deal with her dog’s shit? Of course it is illegal, but we are talking about civility here. Is she so stupid that she does not know how offensive it is? Perhaps some of the good dog owners here would like to come around and clean out my cans twice a week? So cleanup your own dog’s shit and don’t spread it in my can.

Comment from Mags
Time August 4, 2012 at 11:51 am

I used to like dogs. A lot. Now, I am a homeowner and find myself dealing with dog poo on my property, barking at all hours and unleashed pets roaming through my yard at will. I have been in countless public areas where dogs are required to be on a leash but the owners don’t bother to follow this law. I was attacked by one of these dogs and sent to the Emergency Room for treatment. A lawsuit ensued and the dog was quarrantined. I know that this comment line deals specifically with dog poo and that I am running a bit off the track but my point is this: There are no bad dogs, only irresponsible dog owners. Being a pet owner is a privilege and a responsibilty. Those of us who don’t own dogs (anymore) are happy to have them share our world as long as the owners follow the rules; rules that are in existance for everyone’s health and happiness. So, back to the comment thread; No. No dog poo in any garbage can but your own. Your dog, your garbage. And, heartfelt thanks to all those dog owners who are doing things the right way.

Comment from Anonymous
Time January 11, 2013 at 3:27 pm

This morning my boyfriend and I were walking our dog through the neighborhood behind our apartments. We were about twenty minutes from home and our dog went to the bathroom. We always pick up after him and around the corner there was a row of trash cans out. I threw it away in the first trash can not even thinking that this is seen as rude to people these days. The owner of the house came out swearing at me asking why I put it in his trash. I was kind of dumbstruck that someone would even be that mad at this to begin with so my boyfriend walked back and pulled it out of the trash. To the non dog owners out there I can see your point that this might make you mad, so I will now carry it home, but all you have to do is ask nicely for me to not discard my dogs poop in your trash. It sounds like some people on here are looking for border wars with their neighbors. Guess some people just don’t get laid enough…

Comment from dawgsredhawks09
Time March 4, 2013 at 11:38 am

Same thing has happened to us on several occasions. People have been downright rude to us if there is something they have concern about with our dog and we were not aware of it until they had brought it to our attention at first. Leaving anonymous letters is cowardly and does not give someone the right to be hateful. Be a neighbor, come and knock on our door, and talk to us like adults.

Comment from Mark
Time April 4, 2013 at 5:06 pm

I love dogs. Don’t have one – I travel a lot. I got home again today, garbage day, and found an open bag of poop in my can. It is now in the gutter. Why should I be expected to have an open bag of dog poop decaying in my 80 degree garage for the next 7 days. Unacceptable.

Comment from ME
Time April 29, 2014 at 12:14 pm

I want my trash can to be clean, so I put an extra bag (every week) to hold the kitchen bags I put in it. I don’t understand the mentality of people who put their dog’s poop in my can. This usually happens AFTER the trash has been picked up…so the poop bag is at the bottom of the container. On summer days, yeah.. that’s what I need… YOUR dog’s poop festering in my clean can for a week. Take your dog poop home with you. Imagine how you’d feel if someone was strolling their baby, it took a dump, and the person stuck it in your trash. Nice, smelly baby poop for a week. You’d love it right? Take your poop home with you and leave my trash container alone!

Comment from Maureen
Time July 19, 2014 at 8:00 pm

Correct me if I am wrong but is seems that many people feel that they are not being treated with respect when strangers are using their refuse receptacles, in addition they feel that the dog owners are not taking responsibly for their animals. On the flip side, the dog owners are looking for a solution to the problem of the poop bags begging being very smelly while walking. I have a large dog in which I double bag my large dogs refuse. Then I put it is a netted bag which is adhered to a waste pouch that I carry. This seems to solve the problem. I also have seen people successfully having their dog carry the bags with a harness system and that seems to work well. I hope this helps!

Comment from schrodinger
Time January 5, 2015 at 9:52 pm

I would rather have my neighbors drop their dog’s poop bags in my trash than just leave them in the (duplex) front yard, as they’re doing now.

At least with THIS puppy, they’re bagging it up. With their last dog, they just let him dump in the back yard and they never picked it up. Needless to say, the aroma coming over the fence in our VERY HOT ‘Southern State’ summers, as well as the flies that came along with it, made my backyard almost unusable. The property management was all over them like– well, flies on ‘you know what’. It doesn’t seem to matter to these folks that there is a Poop Station just steps away from the house, and their own trash is right out in the alley, just outside their back gate? AND– they have a fenced yard, but they insist on letting their pup just drop deuce out front.

Did I mention that their preferred breed– the now-gone adult and the new puppy– is a GREAT DANE??

Nice. Just freaking nice…

Comment from Anonymous
Time April 28, 2015 at 9:41 am

Interesting suggestions above , it is true everyone would rather dog owners use some trash can rather than just leave it on the ground , which to most people that is obviously wrong. My suggestion to my neighbors who are dropping baggies of poop into the bottom of my , just emptied trash can: Come out earlier , before 6:30 and use my trash can on the curb before the collectors come, or bring a 30 gallon hefty garbage bag with you and put it into the garbage can that was just emptied , then put your baggie of dog poop in, because the trash collators in my neighborhood) often just reach in and pul the large bags out and hand crying them to the truth rather than pushing the hole can over to the truth and putting it on the lift and then drawing the can back to the curb

Comment from Lynnette
Time August 12, 2015 at 7:37 pm

You know what, I would rather find dog poop in my trash can, then suddenly under my foot due to no one picking it up, or worse still, and I still shudder to this day to think of it. . in my toddler’s hands, mouth, face, and clothes becuase they found it first in the front yard.

I have had this happen before, and finding a toddler eating dog poop is WAY worse then finding it bagged up (as required by law!) and placed in a garbage disposal receptable.

Sorry folks, but as its clearly stated on the cans, the trash cans are NOT your personal property. That’s why cops can go through your trash cans at will, without a warrent! Its considered discared refuse!

Let people use your trash cans for the dog poop. So much better then stepping in shit, or finding your kid eating it and ruining all your plans, not to metnion appetiate for the day (or the next two or three!)

Comment from drjules
Time October 6, 2015 at 3:15 pm

Mu husband and I caught a man putting his dog poop in our trash can and I told him to take it out. He said, “Everyone else puts their dog crap in MY garbage can!” and I told him, “That’s not my problem…we don’t own a dog.” He did it again yesterday and was out of range by the time I went outside to find his dog’s poop in our trash can. S I called the police and asked if it was legal. They said, “No! It is illegal. Some dogs have roundworm (from just sniffing the base of a tree where a raccoon has been) and it is transmitted via handling the receptacle. It is also against the law. He said to find out where the perp lives, catch them in the act again, and call the police…they will go to his house and fine him. It is the law. And for the record, we own our trash bins. Where we live, you have the option to buy them rather than “rent” them.

Comment from M
Time January 20, 2016 at 12:54 am

These People are soo bad too do bad things too inasent Puppy’s & Dogs I hope you didn’t abuse these sweet Anumals if you did God knows what you are doing he will kill those who are doing these Evil thing that these sweet Dogs & Cats won’t suffer any more Becouse God will step in.

Comment from M
Time January 20, 2016 at 12:57 am

I never put my Dog s poop in other cans but my own. Maybe my young Sister dose that that she dosnt have since enuff but not me.

Comment from T.
Time February 15, 2016 at 3:47 pm

I’m with you—like others have said, the offending bags are normally put in after the garbage has been collected and the kind of people who do this often don’t tie their bags well either and or the bag sticks to the bottom of the can even at the next trash pickup. Particularly irksome is the fact that there is a PUBLIC trash can on most corners of every block in this neighborhood. It is purely lazy and inconsiderate to throw it in a neighbor’s can. Leave your address and I’ll return it to your can . . .if it’s all the same.

Comment from j
Time April 1, 2016 at 6:57 pm

When I see dog poop bags in my EMPTY garbage can, I want to kill that dog. It’s offensive. I don’t own a dog. I don’t like their shit or their hair or anything about them. And having to clean my garbage can because the dog owner put his poop bag in AFTER my garbage was removed but before I could wheel that garbage can back is rude.

Personally – I’m starting to think I need to start spraying something that kills dogs. Not everybody likes your friend.

Dog owners need to become responsible pet owners. That means having a way to transport their “best friend’s” shit back to their home.

I bought my garbage can. I dislike having to clean some nasty dog shit from that garbage can because of a bad dog owner.

And no – the threat that you won’t pick up your nasty filthy dog’s shit is not valid. It is illegal to have dog fecal waste on the sidewalk.

Bottom line – be good neighbors. That means you don’t put your dog’s crap in empty garbage cans. You ask for permission. OR, you devise a plan to dump that poop in YOUR garbage can.

To people who are tired… you might want to look up things that are poisonous to dogs – for example plant life. I’m thinking that’s the only way to deal with the inconsiderate dog owners. maybe if fluffy can die, they’ll start behaving like decent responsible human beings.

Comment from John Woestendiek
Time April 2, 2016 at 10:11 am

I’m not sure murder/poisoning falls under the description of being a good neighbor, either.
John / ohmidog!

Comment from Kellie
Time June 27, 2016 at 8:58 am

If you can’t carry your own dog’s waste back to your own can, than you should not have a pet. Take responsibility for your own dogs waste, do not leave it on the ground. I do not want to come home from work and find your dog’s waste in my empty can. This forces me to keep your dog’s waste for several days in my garage until the next trash pickup. Do you know how much that smells. Disgusting!
I pick-up after my own dog on walks, and carry it all the way back to my house. My dog my responsibility.

Comment from Frisco CO resident
Time July 1, 2016 at 6:06 pm

Someone just threw poop into our garbage can — after the truck came by. We only get pick up every two weeks and it’s made our garage smell horrible. It’s pretty aggravating for a non-dog owner!

Comment from Anonymous
Time August 3, 2016 at 8:03 am

Our garbage pickup people grab the bags out of the cans. Any small items that are not bagged will not be taken. So the small loose trash and bags of dog poop are left for us to clean up. We have to wash the cans out and put the poop into the larger trash bags. Leaving your dog poop in someone else’s trash is rude and disgusting. A small bag isn’t an excuse. Don’t make your decision someone else’s problem. Also, curb your dogs please/ learn what that means. My front yard isn’t your dog’s park to poop in. A sidewalk isn’t an excuse to trespass and leave a mess behind.

Comment from Scarlet Estrada
Time August 6, 2016 at 12:15 pm

We have somebody doing this every garbage day. The problem is, our trash bags are already sealed with the doggie bags on top of them. The garbage truck will take the doggie poop bag and leave it in our yard. We had a sign to put in our yard that says: “Your dog, your trash. Don’t leave it here!”

Comment from Paul
Time October 4, 2016 at 4:48 pm

If they don’t want it in their trash, it will stay on their lawn. Period. I’m not carrying it home. Don’t like it? Tough nuts. Go complain to someone who cares.

Comment from Em
Time October 12, 2016 at 5:41 am

I’m new to this dog owning thing and up until my neighbor put out a sign asking not to have other ppl’s trash thrown in his can, I had no clue it was an issue. I respected that and started throwing my dogs poop (secured in lavender scented, biodegradable bags) into one of the 6 trash cans owned by my apartment building. Well, another sign popped up – “Please do not throw your poop in our can.” The neighbor that wrote this sign also has a dog. But I’m confused? We don’t pay for garbage. We don’t own the can. Where am I supposed to put my dogs poop if I can’t even put it in the cans at my building? Where does the 2nd neighbor who put up the sign put their dog poop? Help…