Here’s a handy tip to keep dogs from doing their business in those sidewalk tree wells — one that works better than bricks, better than fences, and is all but guaranteed to keep those disease-carrying beasts from tainting our otherwise pristine urban tree life:
Take cuttings from thorny plants, like rose bushes, and spread them around the tree.
It may sound like a tip from Satan’s Helpful Household Hints (not a real book, to our knowledge). But it’s actually the advice offered by a Baltimore neighborhood association bedeviled by dog poop that’s not getting picked up.
The advice came in the January newsletter of the Fells Prospect Community Association.
“… You can make it clear that you don’t want pets approaching by planting thorny plants (roses, bayberry), or covering your tree pit with pine cones or cuttings from thorny plants that are uncomfortable for dogs to walk on. A sign will also encourage some people to move their dog to the next house.”
Of course moving on to the next house isn’t really the answer — is it? — unless dog and walker keep doing so until they are outside the boundaries of Fells Prospect, a neighborhood near Fells Point and Butcher Hill. Even then, the problem isn’t over. It has just moved somewhere else.
Even if every single resident of Fells Prospect adopted a tree well, nurturing it and the tree it contained (be it a live one or a dead one), even if they filled said well with thorns, lead paint chips, discarded hypodermic needles and perhaps a few strands of barbed wire, that’s all — other than some canine and human casualties — that would be achieved.
This is a hardly a new issue. In big and densely packed cities, there are few options when it comes to dogs relieving themselves. Everything is so paved over that a tiny patch of turf or dirt surrounding a tree is the only place for dogs to go. So dogs go there. Responsible dog owners, at least, pick it up. But some dog owners, like some community association officials, are thoughtless and uncaring.
So the tired old battle wages on — escalating to levels that could involve bloodshed — when, if everyone would just pick up their dog’s feces, it could finally shut the whiners up, or at least most of them.
Setting booby traps that puncture and maim is not the answer.
It’s generally accepted that the best route is education, perhaps along with some enforcement of the law that threatens $1,000 fines for unscooped poop.
It’s generally true that a tree well that is well-maintained, with a healthy tree, and some flowers around it, will be avoided, if not by the dog, at least by their walker. Ace and I always tried to steer around those when we lived in Baltimore. Sure, we’d come across dog poop on the sidewalk from time to time — just as we’d come across rats, both dead and alive, dirty needles and used condoms, and once in my backyard, a buried handgun.
Baltimore has bigger problems than dog poop. That’s not to say unscooped dog poop shouldn’t be addressed, only that it makes sense to do so with some perspective, in a reasonable matter that doesn’t involve installing weapons of mass destruction.
Alisa Peters, owner of You Silly Dog, was one of those that expressed concern about the community association’s advice: “It’s going to be uncomfortable and/or painful for the dog,” she told the Baltimore Sun. “Why are we punishing the dog? It’s not the dog’s fault.”
Veterinarian Gregory Burbelo, owner of the Boston Street Animal Hospital, which advertises in the newsletter, told The Sun he plans to ask the association to retract its comments.
“It’s sort of trickery,” he said. “It hurts the dog but doesn’t serve as a warning to the owner to keep the dog out.” While a dog may have a fair chance avoiding a thorny bush planted in a tree well, sharp clippings spread across the ground could go unseen and lead to injuries.
Officials of the Fells Prospect Community Association declined to comment to The Sun, including Phyllis Fung, who co-founded Cut the Crap Baltimore last year to combat dog waste in the neighborhood. She’s the association’s secretary.
Making the issue even more thorny is the fact that residents don’t own the sidewalks, or the tree wells within those sidewalks, so they lack the right to install booby traps in the first place.
Worse yet, any such traps could injure not just dogs whose owners are scofflaws, but those belonging to law-abiding, poop-scooping owners as well.
“We’re ignoring the fact that we’re attempting to punish 100 percent of the animals for the issues of 10 percent of owners who are irresponsible,” dog owner and neighborhood resident John Lam told the newspaper.
“I’m hoping people will ignore [the suggestions]. There are are a lot of homeowners who think they own their tree pits and don’t realize they’re in the public right-of-way. I have a big concern that people will start putting stuff in the tree pits to hurt dogs.”
(Top photo by Gail Langellotto; graphic from Cut the Crap Baltimore)
Posted by John Woestendiek January 10th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: advice, animals, baltimore, booby trap, city, clippings, community association, dog poop, dogs, feces, fells prospect, hazards, inhumane, living, newsletter, pets, pine cones, poop, scoop, sidewalks, solutions, suggestion, thorns, thorny, tip, urban
So — yucky as it is – it’s only right to share some news that shows the reverse side of the equation can be true, too.
According to a report from the German newspaper Tagesspiegel, dogs in Berlin are being sickened by human feces left in some public parks frequented by drug users.
Veterinarians say they’ve seen an increase in such poisonings.
Dogs who ingest the waste show symptoms that include shaking, dehydration and difficulty walking. Tests on dogs have found heroin and other illegal drugs present in their systems.
Vets say most cases took place in parks the city’s Treptow and Kreuzberg areas, where drug users are known to gather, especially at night.
Berlin-based veterinarian Reinhold Sassnau told Tagesspiegel that the poisonings are rarely fatal. Most dogs recover if they quickly receive treatment, which includes inducing vomiting. Otherwise, prolonged treatment might be required.
Just something to keep in mind next time you (or your dog) step in a pile of dog poop (or is it?) at the park.
Posted by John Woestendiek October 24th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: addicts, berlin, defecation, dog, dog poop, drug, environment, feces, germany, hazard, health, heroin, human, human poop, ingesting, parks, poop, public, toilets, users, waste
There might not be any town as intent — you might even say obsessed — with wiping out dog poop as Brunete, Spain.
First, officials in the town on the outskirts of Madrid launched a social awareness campaign, aimed at encouraging pet owners to pick up after their dogs.
Part of it included a remote control pile of poop on wheels, which approached citizens bearing the message “Don’t leave me, pick me up!”
“The amount of dog poo on our streets dropped considerably as a result,” a town spokesman is quoted as saying in this article.
When “volume” started rising again, the town opted for a sneakier approach — though it, too, has an in-your-face element.
In February of this year, officials in the town of 10,100 assigned 20 volunteers to patrol the streets in search of dog owners who don’t pick up after their dogs.
Upon seeing an offense, the undercover volunteers approach the owners and strike up a casual conversation — not mentioning the poop, just feigning interest in the dog and asking about its name and breed.
Once the dog walker departs, the volunteer would pick up the dog poop and put it in a box. Then, using the town’s database of registered dogs, they find out the address of the dog walker. Then they’d deliver the surprise package by hand to the pet owner’s home, along with an official warning.
If that weren’t embarassing enough, they film the reunions between dog owners and their dog’s poop.
Brunete Town Hall estimates the program has reduced the amount of unpicked up dog waste by 70 percent.
Officials aren’t sure whether it’s the threat of the fine, receiving a package of poop, or getting humiliated on camera that’s doing the trick, but they say the program seems to be working.
Posted by John Woestendiek June 7th, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, brunete, campaign, clean up, control, deliver, dog, dog owners, dog poop, dog walkers, dogs, feces, fines, home, pets, pick-up, pile, poo, poop, remote, scoop, sidewalks, spain, streets, town, warnings, waste
The mailed feces was sent along with this note: “Your bulk mailer has purchased a bogus name. Our dog does not need Medicare insurance and has never written a letter nor called Anthem requesting such trash … When are these solicitations going to stop arriving? Well, let’s see if you like your trash back. What comes around, goes around!”
The family, pointing out they were tired of the insurance company’s “crap,” addressed the package to “Expert A–holes” and ended the letter by saying, “Bon appetite.”
Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield told police it was the second time in two months they’ve received dog feces in the mail at their Virginia Avenue office. A similar delivery came in March.
Police have passed the complaint onto the postal inspector, according to Fox 59 in Indianapolis.
Anthem employees sealed the latest shipment in a plastic bag to hand over to inspectors, according to RTV 6.
The most recent letter had a return address, but police were unsure if it was authentic.
Posted by John Woestendiek May 30th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: addressed, advertisements, advertising, animals, anthem, blue cross blue shield, dog, dogs, feces, health, health insurance, indianapolis, insurance, junk mail, pets, poop
When are you responsible for picking up the poop of someone else’s dog?
Apparently, in San Francisco, when it ends up on your roof.
When a building manager complained to the city’s health department that dog feces was piling up on top of the pet-free residential building — and that she suspected it was being left there by a dog from an adjoining pet-friendly building – an inspector came to investigate.
A week later, a “Notice of Violation” letter arrived in the mail — not to the offending dog’s owner, or even to the adjacent bulding, but to the manager who had complained. The notice declared her rooftop a public nuisance and threatened a $163 fine if the waste was not immediately removed.
The tale was told in the Bay Citizen, and reprinted yesterday in The New York Times, by columnist Scott James, who knows the manager, a fellow writer named Diane Archer who also lives in the building.
Before contacting the city, Archer — based on another resident having witnessed a dog crossing over from the roof next door — complained to the neighboring building’s owner. When it continued to be an issue, she went to the police, who sent her to the Department of Public Health.
On Jan. 13, Irene Sanchez, a health department investigator, toured the roof, took notes, and promised action — and, to Archer’s surprise, that action was against her, or at least her pet-free building.
Sanchez, noting she never saw the dog in question, said she had no choice. Even though Archer’s building had been victimized, it was responsible for cleaning up the mess. A health department spokeswoman, said that, unfair as it may seem, “someone has to clean it up” — and whether it’s poop or graffiti, the building owner bears that responsibility in San Francisco.
Scott James, the columnist, said he had no trouble finding the suspect – Jane, a 50-pound, shepherd mix who appaprently was sneaking up to the roof. Jane belongs to the girlfriend of a resident of the adjoining building.
The job of cleaning up after Jane fell to Archer, the original complainant, who scooped each pile up with a plastic sack and disposed of it.
Posted by John Woestendiek February 11th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, cities, clean, courtesy, dog, etiquette, feces, health, law, neighbors, pets, pick-up, poop, responsibility, roof, rooftop, san francisco, scoop, waste
“All Over Albany” has noticed that dog poop is, well, all over Albany — and they’ve fashioned a helpful flow chart to help address the (fecal) matter.
(Click on the illegible version above to be taken to the full size chart. Then come back, for this isn’t just an upstate New York issue, but a national, nay, global one.)
At my park in Baltimore, and probably your’s, it seems that, when the snow and cold arrive, the manners of some otherwise responsible dog owners depart.
Whether it’s because people don’t want to traipse throught the snow to scoop it up, or because it’s just so darned cold, there are a lot more lingering dog droppings to be seen, and stepped in.
In a perfect world, those not scooping would be the ones stepping in it — but it never seems to work out that way.
And while, granted, solidly frozen poopage won’t despoil your footwear, neglected droppings, amid continued freeze and thaw, can come back to haunt us.
“We’ve thought a lot about this issue,” Alloveralbany.com reported in a piece last month. “And we finally came to the conclusion that winter somehow impairs the ability of some people to make good decisions about whether they should pick up their dog’s poop.
“So, we’re here to help. We’ve constructed a flow chart to assist citizens of the Capital Region in their decision-making process on the all important question: ‘It’s winter. My dog has pooped. What now?’”
Posted by John Woestendiek January 29th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: albany, all over albany, animals, civility, cold, dog, dog poop, dog poop flow chart, dogs, feces, flow chart, freezing, frozen, ice, manners, pet owners, pets, pick up the poop, pick-up, poop, poopsicle, responsible, scoop, shit, snow, turd, waste, weather, winter, wintry
A New York woman claims two Queens police officers roughed her up during a dispute over whether she failed to pick up her dog’s waste.
Anna Stanczyk, 49, insisted her terrier, Psotka (“prankster” in Polish), had only urinated, and says that the police officers punched her after handcuffing her and pushing her into their patrol car.
The police department’s Internal Affairs division has opened an investigation into her claims, the New York Daily News reports.
Stanczyk’s lawyer said the incident took place Nov. 26.
Stanczyk was confronted in Rockaway Beach by two officers from the 100th Precinct who accused her of not picking up a pile of feces left by her dog. The officers — Shaun Grossweiler, a 4-year veteran, and Richard DeMartino, a 10-year veteran — charged her with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Police, in court papers, said Stanczyk caused a ruckus by yelling at them.
Photos taken by her son — printed in yesterday’s Daily News — show Stanczyk, a housewife who emigrated from Poland, with a blackened left eye and a large bruise on her breast. She said she also suffered hand and knee injuries and needs physical therapy.
Posted by John Woestendiek December 9th, 2010 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: abuse, altercation, anna stanczyk, black eye, bruises, brutality, claims, confrontation, dog, dogs, feces, injuries, investigation, law enforcement, new york, new york city, pick-up, poland, police, polish, poop, psotka, queens, scoop, terrier, video, waste, welt
Dog feces is being used to keep the lights on — well, one light, anyway – at a park in Cambridge.
Conceptual artist Matthew Mazzotta, through an MIT-funded project known as Project Park Spark, is the brains behind the scheme, in which a “methane digester” is used to to convert freshly scooped dog waste into methane.
Dog owners simply collect their dog waste in a special biodegradable bag and throw it into an air-tight cylinder. The feces are broken down by anaerobic bacteria. The process produces methane, which is then released through a valve and burnt as fuel — in this case to power an old-fashioned gas-burning lamppost in the park.
Mazzotta is open to other suggestions on how to use the flame, and suggestions have included a teahouse, popcorn stand and shadow-projection box.
It’s a pretty brilliant use of dog waste, which, when it goes into landfill, releases methane into the atmosphere. Harnessing it is a far better idea, considering methane is a potent greenhouse gas more than times more harmful than carbon dioxide, WIRED reports.
Mazzotta hopes to install permanent underground digesters in parks throughout the United States.
(Photo: Project Park Spark)
Posted by John Woestendiek September 16th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, art, digesters, dog, dog feces, dogs, environment, feces, gas, lamp, light, mathew mazzotta, methane, mit, park, pets, poop, power, powered, project park spark, science, waste
Dogs are no longer permitted in the 13 cemeteries in Concord as a result of the vote, and those caught disturbing the deceased will face fines between $50 and $1,000, according to the Concord Monitor.
Councilor Steve Shurtleff proposed the measure, saying using cemeteries as dog parks is disrespectful — though it’s not clear whether anyone was actually doing that to any large extent.
What the councilors were aiming at, most agree, was preventing dogs from urinating or defecating in cemeteries.
What they passed was a blanket ban that fails to take into consideration that some families might want to bring their dog to visit a deceased family member — or bring a deceased family member’s dog to visit their master’s grave.
The council — apparently obsessed with dog waste, and apparently pandering to the uptight members of their constituency — neglected to factor in the comfort dogs can provide when families are coping with the death of a loved one.
So while we admire their effort to keep dead people covered with dirt — and the rocks set atop dead people covered with dirt — pristine, we’ll have to add this to our list of dumb dog laws.
Posted by John Woestendiek August 10th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, ban, cemeteries, city council, city councilors, concord, council, dog, dog parks, dogs, dumb, feces, fines, graves, law, new hampshire, news, pee, pets, poop, respect, waste
Investigators say the Department of Agriculture often ignores repeat violations, waives penalties and doesn’t adequately document inhumane treatment of dogs, the Associated Press reported.
In one case cited by the department’s inspector general, 27 dogs died at an Oklahoma breeding facility– after inspectors had visited the facility repeatedly and cited it for violations.
The review, conducted between 2006 and 2008, found that more than half of those breeders who had already been cited for violations flouted the law again.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Tuesday that USDA will take immediate action. “USDA will reinforce its efforts under its animal welfare responsibilities, including tougher penalties for repeat offenders and greater consistent action to strongly enforce the law,” he said.
Federal investigators uncovered grisly conditions at puppy mills around the country where dogs were infested with ticks, living with gaping wounds and in pools of feces, according to the report.
The report recommends that the animal care unit at the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service immediately confiscate animals that are dying or seriously suffering, and better train its inspectors to document, report and penalize wrongdoing.
The investigators visited 68 dog breeders and dog brokers in eight states that had been cited for at least one violation in the previous three years. They found that first-time violators and even repeat offenders were rarely penalized.
“The agency believed that compliance achieved through education and cooperation would result in long-term dealer compliance and, accordingly, it chose to take little or no enforcement action against most violators,” the report said.
In the case of the Oklahoma breeding facility, the breeder had been cited for 29 violations, including nine repeated violations, from February 2006 to January 2007. The inspector returned in November 2007 before any enforcement action had taken place, according to the report, and found five dead dogs and “other starving dogs that had resorted to cannibalism.”
Despite these conditions, the inspectors did not immediately confiscate the surviving dogs and, the report says, 22 additional dogs died before the breeder’s license was revoked.
Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States, said the report confirms what animal rights groups have been pointing out for for years.
“Enforcement is flaccid, the laws are weak and reform needs to happen,” he said. “We have long criticized having the animal welfare enforcement functions within a bureaucracy dedicated to promoting American agriculture. There’s a built-in conflict of interest.”
Posted by John Woestendiek May 26th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: agriculture, animals, breeders, breeding, cannibalism, conditions, deaths, department, dogs, dying, enforcement, feces, federal, government, humane society of the united states, inspector general, lax, news, offenders, offenses, ohmidog!, pets, puppy mills, repeat, report, usda, wayne pacelle