Our answer is a qualified “yes” — but based on far different reasons than those being hammered away on by U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann and other Republicans.
The former presidential candidate from Minnesota said she thinks having a caretaker/dogwalker assigned to Bo is one example of lavish and excessive spending at the White House.
“We are also the ones who are paying for someone to walk the president’s dog — paying for someone to walk the president’s dog,” she said over the weekend (serving as her own echo).
Bachman, who has a beagle named Boomer, made the remarks at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, held just outside Washington .
We, too, think the president should walk his dog — not as a money-saving measure, but because we think those peaceful moments of solace and reflection (assuming Bo is not a tugger) will make him a better president.
Walking the dog not only clears the head, it reminds one of what’s important in life. It’s good for the brain, it keeps the blood circulating, it lets you smell the roses and it calms the soul. I want a president with a calm soul, or at least as calm as the office permits.
While I think Obama and family should walk their own dog at every opportunity, I find nothing wrong with the White House having a full time dog walker on staff — even if, as some not 100 percent confirmed reports suggest, it”s a $100,000- a-year position.
(Also, I offer to fill that position should it ever become vacated — or even on a fill-in basis.)
As reported on the CNN blog, Political Ticker, Bachman, in her speech, blasted what she called “a lifestyle that is one of excess.”
“Now we find out that there are five chefs on Air Force One. There are two projectionists who operate the White House movie theater … They regularly sleep at the White House in order to be regularly available in case the first family wants a really, really late show. And I don’t mean to be petty here, but can’t they just push the play button?”
The Obamas, though always very well dressed, don’t strike me as lavish, and I don’t think Bo experiences the same amenities of, say, Queen Elizabeth’s corgis.
Our nation’s First Dog deserves, at least in some ways, royal treatment — even amid all the fiscal cliffs and sequesters that, dramatic as they are, were created by lavishly living (often) politicians out of touch with the real world.
Dogs help keep the word real. I want my president to keep it real. So I want my president to walk the dog whenever possible.
If it comes down to tending to a world crisis and taking Bo outside to pee, by all means, tend to the world crisis, and let the highly paid dogwalker handle the duty, as well as the doody.
(My far bigger questions about all this are whether the Obamas personally scoop Bo’s poop from the White House lawn, and whether Bachmann picks up Boomer’s droppings at her home, valued at $1.27 million, on the 18th hole of the Stoneridge Golf Course.)
Grabbing and bagging a handful of feces is how you keep it really, really real.
But back to our main point. Routine and mundane as the task might seem, there is much to be gained from time spent walking your own dog. (Just ask Leon Panetta.)
In trying times, when the head gets too clogged by all the stress, there is no better way to return it to a state of reason and clarity than the simple pleasure of walking the dog – whether you’re a queen, a president, an assembly line worker, or even unemployed.
(Photos: Bo and the president, official White House photo by Pete Souza; Michele and Marcus Bachmann, with Boomer, AP photo by Craig Lassig)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 18th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, barack, bo, bo obama, dog, dog walker, dog walking, dogs, first dog, first family, fiscal cliff, lavish, lifestyle, michele bachmann, obama, pets, politics, poop, president, republicans, scoop, sequester, spending, taxes, taxpayers, walking, white house, who walks bo
An apartment complex outside Dallas has become the latest to hire a company that conducts DNA tests on unscooped dog poop, with an eye toward fining, and possibly evicting, any owners who fail to clean up.
The management at NorthSide at Legacy, in Plano, informed tenants in a letter Friday that they will be required to bring their dogs in for cheek swabs in order to establish a DNA registry of all dogs at the complex, Fox News reported.
The testing is conducted by PooPrints, a Knoxville, Tenn.-based company that is marketing the service nationwide.
Once all the dogs are registered, any dog waste left on the property can be sent off to the PooPrints lab to be matched to the dog.
The fine for failing to clean up will be $250. Subsequent infractions or unpaid fines can result in rental agreements being terminated, the letter said.
“The goal of the program is to help maintain a clean and sanitary environment for all of our residents,” said David Marguiles, who represents Lincoln Properties, the company that owns and operates the apartments.
We’ve told you before about apartment complexes in New Hampshire, and Minnesota that have instituted the program, and how PooPrints has also tried to persuade the Dallas City Council to use its services city-wide.
A representative from PooPrints said they have hundreds of clients in 33 states.
Another Dallas apartment complex, The Ilume Cedar Springs, contracted with PooPrints last fall, with great success, according to management.
Residents there have been much more diligent about cleaning up after their animals, and only 12 – 15 samples of feces have been sent off to the lab for identification, according to the property manager.
Posted by jwoestendiek January 22nd, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, apartments, cleaning, dallas, dna, dna registry, dna testing, dog, dogs, feces, northside at legacy, not picked up, pets, pick-up, plano, poop, pooprints, properties, scoop, testing, unscooped, waste
Problem is, IT’S NOT.
Proving once again that words written in all caps should never be trusted.
As the New York Post reported yesterday, the signs, which show a human dutifully following his dog with a small shovel, are a bit off the mark.
Posted in at least a couple of locations, the signs not only have the maximum fine wrong, but the law they cite — Public Health Law 1316 — doesn’t exist.
The actual maximum fine for the offense is $250, and the law behind it is Public Health Law 1310.
Most signs in the city have it right, but apparently some rogue ones got fabricated and posted as well over the years, either due to poor research, or because the city wanted to scare the sheer bejeebers out of people.
The Post reported that “the city for years has posted signs in parks and promenades that threaten a $1,000 fine for dog-waste violations … Just one problem with the signs: They’re full of crap.”
When The Post asked city officials about one such posting on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, they admitted that “1316” was a typo — and that the actual fine is $250. A spokeswoman said for the Parks Department said the promenade sign was taken down after The Post’s inquiry.
The spokeswoman said the sign “appears to be an older sign that is no longer fabricated and no longer installed in parks. We make every effort to replace these signs when applicable.”
That would make sense if the signs were ever accurate, but they weren’t.
The Post found at least one more sign still standing – at Washington Market Park in TriBeCa.
All of which makes us wonder: Is there a fine for putting up false warning signs?
(Photo: Helayne Seidman / New York Post)
Posted by jwoestendiek January 7th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: $1000, $250, 1310, 1316, animals, clean, dog, dogs, error, failure, feces, it's the law, law, maximum, new york city, new york post, one thousand dollars, parks, penalty, pets, poop, pooper, posted, public health law, scoop, scooper, shit, signs, typo, violations, warn, waste
A company we’ve told you about before, called PooPrints, made its case before the Dallas City Council this week, promising it could solve one of life’s great and ongoing mysteries — and it’s not who shot J.R.
It’s “Whose poop is this?” and, as company officials pointed out, tracking down and fining the owners of dogs who didn’t clean up could bring in millions in revenue for the city.
(Not to mention millions in revenue for the company.)
At least one Dallas City Council member expressed more than a passing interest in the company’s proposal to establish a citywide doggie DNA registry that would allow unscooped piles of poop to be traced to their source.
The company is already working with apartment and condo complexes around the country, but now it seems to have its sights set on signing up entire cities.
We, in case you can’t tell, hate this idea (and we pick up).
NBC5 in Dallas reports that, while some Dallas City Council members chuckled Wednesday when they heard about the idea, others thought it had merit.
“I think that’s a great idea,” Councilwoman Angela Hunt said. “I think we do need enforcement, especially in some of our denser areas where you have a lot of folks living with dogs and, if they’re not picking up. It creates a problem.”
PooPrints said cracking down, through DNA testing, could help clean up the environment. “This waste does run off into the Trinity River, and it does affect our ecosystem,” spokesman Chris Taylor said. “And we do want to keep our parks clean. We want to keep them healthy. This is a very easy way to do it.”
Company officials say residents could be required to pay for the $29.95 kits required to get a DNA sample. The city — while it would pay for the tests on the poop itself – $49.95 each — would more than recoup that expense through fining perpetrators.
The Ilume apartment complex on Cedar Springs Road in Dallas is already using the program on its property. Residents are required to record their pet’s DNA, and they’re fined $250 if waste on the property is tracked to that pet. A second offense leads to eviction.
“We’ve gone from picking up maybe an hour a day of poop, to picking up maybe one or two a month,” manager Joshuah Welch said.
Posted by jwoestendiek November 9th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: angela hunt, animals, city council, dallas, dna, dog, dogs, enforcement, environment, eviction, feces, fines, kits, penalties, pets, poo prints, poop, registry, revenue, scoop, shit, testing, unscooped, waste
The Saturday incident proves what he has been saying all along.
Both on his website and on signs he puts up in the park, he warns that dog poop can be dangerous; and urges that dog owners pick it up.
We have no disagreement with that.
According to his report in the New Haven Independent, a family on a picnic returned home and noticed their daughter “had a smelly substance under her fingernails … Upon further inspection, the 4-year-old had some of the same substance in her mouth and ears…
“Yep, you guessed it. The substance was dog feces. They cleaned her up but overnight had to take her to the emergency room because she was vomiting … Upon testing the little girl, they found her stomach swarming with coliform bacteria …”
A good doggie defense lawyer might point out here that, unlikely as it is to have come from another source, there’s no proof that the poop came from a dog. As one slightly less than sensitive commenter on the Ross post says, “there are a lot worse things than dog poop (needles for instance) littering the parks and streets of New Haven – you’re lucky that it was only dog poop and not something worse.”
As another chimed in “the girl could have pricked herself with a heroin needle, suffocated on a used condom or cut herself on broken beer bottles.”
A good doggie defense lawyer might further raise the question in the jury’s mind as to why the family, on top of not noticing their daughter when she was playing in poop, didn’t detect the presence of the substance until their return home.
But that’s not the point, at least not to Andy Ross, who had the misfortune of bearing the wrath of mom.
On his signs urging dog walkers to pick up the poop, he lists his email address and phone number. The mother, for some reason, called to yell at him.
“At first she blamed me until I pointed out that I am the one trying to stop this disgusting and total irresponsibility on behalf of dog owners,” he reported. The woman was threatening to sue the city, he said. ”She was piping mad and I do not blame her.”
“I hope that every group that has the ability to get out this horrible story to residents does,” Ross wrote. “Spring is here and children play in the park. Others just enjoy walking around the park with out having to navigate their way through dog feces. This is not just a Wooster Square Park problem; I am sure it is prevalent in other city parks too. This is both a health and quality of life issue we all need to pay attention to.”
Comments on his report are evenly divided between those who agree what happened to the four-year-old was horrendous, and those who point out it could have been worse, and ask why no one in the family noticed when the child was smearing poop on herself.
“Um, I can’t speak for everyone – but I grew up with a dog that poo’d all over the lawn, spent A LOT of time playing on said lawn, and even at 4 I knew not to touch that s#!t … Sounds like questionable parenting to me.”
“People who don’t pick up after their pets are selfish and uncivilized,” said another. “I would recommend to the upset mother that she needs to take the time to teach her child not to eat things off the ground, or at least be more attentive to what her child is doing.”
“Careless dog owners stare at their iPhones while the dog is defecating and completely miss it,” wrote another “… My real question is, why own a beautiful animal if you’re not going to give it your attention? Put down your phone and love your puppy … you’ll feel better.”
I’d agree that both the owner that failed to pick up their dog’s poop, and the parents of the child who failed to notice their daughter toying with it, share the blame. And I especially like the idea of blaming the iPhone as well.
Many people tend to get so absorbed in whatever it is they are doing on their phones that they fail to notice both the subtle things and the blatant ones going on around them, whether it’s what a dog might be dropping or what a child might be picking up.
Even though hand-held communication devices may not be to blame for this particular incident, they — or is it our dependence on them? — do seem to take us out of the moment we’re in.
So pick up the poop. Monitor your dog. Watch your children. Enjoy the company of both. And leave the stupid phone at home.
Let a day in the park be a day in the park.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 28th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: andy ross, animals, consideration, daughter, dog, dogs, droppings, feces, girl, grass, health, hospital, law, mad, mother, new haven, park, parks, pets, pick-up, picnic, played, playing, poop, responsibility, safety, sanitation, scoop, sickened, signs, vigilante, warning, wooster square park
Officials in New Taipei City say their dog poop lottery was a resounding success – more than 4,000 people collected 14,500 bags of excrement.
For each bag they turned in, they were given a lottery ticket, earning them a chance to win gold and household appliances.
Officials in the Taiwan city credit the program with cutting in half the amount of dog droppings on city streets.
The program began in August and was initially planned to run until October, but it was so successful the city extended it a couple of more months — up until they started running out of gold, the BBC reported.
Final prizes were awarded this week, with the big winner receiving a gold ingot worth $2,200. The woman, in her 50s, was part of a team of volunteers that clean the streets regularly.
Smaller gold ingots, worth several hundred dollars, were given to four other prizewinners.
A total of 85 people won prizes, including household appliances.
City officials told the BBC they did not know how many of the winners were motivated by gold, as opposed to people who regularly pick up the poop of their own dogs or other’s.
Officials say they hope residents have gotten into the habit of picking up dog droppings, and that they will continue to do so without financial rewards.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 9th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, behavior, clean, dog, dogs, droppings, feces, gold, incentive, ingots, lottery, new tapei city, pets, pick-up, poop, prizes, program, rewards, scoop, taiwan, waste
Starting on Monday, people who take dog feces they have collected to New Taipei City sanitation units will receive a ticket for a gold-ingot raffle, the Tapei Times reports.
The raffle winners will recieve ingots worth $12,000 to $60,000.
“We believe this innovative measure will raise people’s awareness of the problem,” Chen said Chen Chao-mint, an official with the Environmental Protection Department. “Through the raffle, we expect the public to pay closer attention to environmental sanitation and play a more active role in keeping their surroundings clean.”
The rafffle results will be announced in October.
Dog feces on streets and sidewalks has become a major quality of life concern for residents, the Times reports, and the municipality has been urging dog owners to clean up after their pets.
New Taipei City will also will also offer rewards to those who take videos or photographs of people who leave their pets’ feces in the street. In addition, the city is encouraging residents to form teams to patrol their neighborhoods and educate people on the importance of cleaning up after their dogs.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 28th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: awareness, clean up, dog, dogs, education, feces, gold, health, ingots, new tapei city, pick-up, poop, public, raffle, sanitation, scoop, taiwan, waste
Sure, you can extract DNA samples from every dog in your community, establish a database, pick up and pack up samples of any unscooped poop, send it to an out of state laboratory, pay a fee, and then await test results that will identify the poopetrator, assuming he or she is in the database in the first place.
Or, you can gently and wittily remind dog owners of their responsibility.
I’m more comfortable in a community that does the latter.
Earlier this week we told you about an apartment complex in Lebanon, New Hampshire, that will begin testing the DNA of unscooped dog poop found on the premises.
The video above, I think, reflects a far more civilized, less Big Brotherish approach to the problem.
In a effort to remind people what uncollected dog poop does to the region’s health, a Seattle area organization called Puget Sound Starts Here launched “Dog Doogity,” a music video to encourage people to pick up after their pets, according to KING 5 in Seattle.
Puget Sound Starts Here is a coalition of state and local agencies that works educate the public on protecting the health of the Sound. The coalition says pet waste contains disease-causing organisms that can carry into the Puget Sound and other local waters.
“For every four and a half people there is one dog in the Puget Sound area and almost all of that is going outside,” said campaign coordinator Suzi Wong Swint. “People just don’t think about dog poop and the major contributions it has on the quality of our water. So, this campaign is trying to encourage people to pick up their dog’s poop in their backyards as well as on their walks.”
The music video features Puget Sound locations in Seattle, Everett and Tacoma. It was inspired by Blackstreet’s 1996 hit, “No Diggity,” and features soul singer Martin Luther and dog Lola.
For more information on the campaign, click here.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 1st, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, apartments, blackstreet, campaign, dna, dna testing, dog doogity, dog poop, dogs, everett, feces, lebanon, martin luther, music video, new hampshire, no diggity, pets, pick-up, poop, public awareness, public education, puget sound, rap, rap song, scoop, seattle, tacoma, testing, washington, waste
An apartment complex in New Hampshire is the latest entity to turn to DNA testing of dog poop in an attempt to catch scofflaws who aren’t picking up after their pets.
The manager of the Timberwood Commons in Lebanon has turned to a company called PooPrints, run by a lab called BioPet in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Residents have been told that they must submit a sample of their dog’s DNA for the apartment database. After that, any offending anonymous droppings can be sent off to the Knoxville lab to be matched to their source through further testing.
When an offender is pinpointed through his or her poop, his or her owner will be required to pay for the lab test, and face further, still to be determined, action.
This, mind you, in the “Live Free or Die” state.
Such testing programs have been going on for a couple of years now in other parts of the world, like Petah Tikva in Israel.
Last year, a luxury condominium complex in Baltimore was on the verge of establishing a similar poop testing program, but changed its mind.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 28th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: amok, animals, apartment, big brother, biopet, complex, dna, dog, dogs, droppings, feces, forensics, investigation, lab, laboratory, lebanon, live free or die, new hampshire, pets, pick-up, poo prints, poop, pooprints, scofflaws, scoop, technology, testing, timberwood commons, waste
In the best of all possible worlds, I would have a poop valet.
On our walks around the neighborhood, he would follow a few steps behind Ace and me, keeping quiet, and waiting to spring into action when his services were required.
It is not picking up Ace’s poop that bothers me so much, it’s lugging the brown and bulging sack around for the rest of the walk.
The poop valet’s job would be to serve as a courier, running the bag back home to my personal garbage can — three four, five blocks away – before washing his hands, checking his pencil-thin mustache, straightening his red vest and returning to see if his services were further required, because double-doody walks, while not common, sometimes occur. (My poop valet, in my imagination, looks a lot like John Waters.)
I can’t bring myself to toss Ace’s poop in other people’s trash. That would be bad manners even if I had a tiny dog. With Ace, it would be no small deposit, taking up valuable refuse space that’s not mine, and adding a lingering scent to the recipient’s receptacle – no matter how tightly I’ve tied the bag – that is anything but lavender, pine or lemony fresh.
As I said, I can tolerate the scoopage, and the brief period of stinkiness as I tie the bag, but being new in the area – and wanting to make a positive impression upon returning to my native neighborhood – lugging an ever-present, generally full poop bag, I fear, works as a strike against me.
It seems, with everyone I have met on our walks, it has been while clutching in my hand a giant bag of poop.
It’s nothing to be ashamed of, I know. Far more shameful would be not picking it up. But still, I find myself feeling slightly embarrassed and less confident at these moments. It’s hard to have self esteem when your self is carrying a steaming bag of feces.
Normally, I would just avoid meeting people – but people are friendly here, and Ace insists upon making new acquaintances, especially if the person is a female. (And I swear I never trained or encouraged him to seek out and befriend females. He just does.)
Poop bag-toting was never a big issue for us in Baltimore, because most walks were to the park, and he would wait until there to do his business. There would always be a public trash can nearby, often overflowing with other bags of — to use the local nomenclature — dog shit.
Here in Winston-Salem, though, most of our walks are through residential areas, with no communal trash cans. Here, people don’t say shit so much. Or even poop. Or even waste. My mother, a local, gets mad when I write about the topic – even though it’s one a dog writer can’t avoid stepping in from time to time. For better or worse, people are more civil here, act more polite, follow silly but sweet old traditions and wear well-pressed clothing.
I probably should start ironing my shirts (or maybe the poop valet wouldn’t mind doing that, too).
Being a large dog (130 pounds), Ace’s output (though it was less when he was on a raw diet) is pretty massive. Picture four or five Hostess Twinkies, in a pile.
I generally use white plastic grocery store bags for the chore, they being free and abundant, if not quickly biodegradable and best for the environment. Being white, being big, being full, it’s impossible to carry them discretely.
Making matters worse, our normal walking route takes us past a restaurant on the way home, with outdoor dining. At first, I would cross the street so as not to offend diners, but they have a water bowl set out for dogs, and Ace is thirsty by then.
With a poop valet, I’d have none of these problems.
As I see it, I’d still scoop – for I am not above that. I’d still tie the bag in an attempt to keep foul odors from wafting out, for I don’t consider that beneath me, either. But then I’d snap my fingers to summon the poop valet and he’d rush to my side. I would hold out the bag. He would take it.
“Very good, sir,” he would say. Then he’d trot back to my house, holding the poop bag in front of him with a fully outstretched arm, to dispose of it before returning to take his place behind us. He’d also always carry extra bags, just in case we needed one.
With the poop valet’s assistance, unencumbered by a big translucent white bag of poop, I would cut a far more charming, more appealing figure.
With a poop valet, I would no longer find myself in this position: “Hi, I’m John, this is Ace, and this is Ace’s massive output of fecal matter – one of two loads he will likely dispense today. Would you care to get a drink sometime?”
Had I a poop valet, he could carry my social calendar as well, for I’m certain – once I stop toting poop through the neighborhood – I will make many friends who want to go out, especially if I’m wearing well-pressed shirts.
Without one, I fear becoming known as the guy who’s always walking through the neighborhood with a sack-o-you-know-what.
“Oh, Poop Bag Guy. Yeah, I’ve seen him. The one who’s always wearing a wrinkled shirt, right?”
“Yeah, that one. Have you ever seen him without poop?”
“Nope, he always has it by his side.”
Eventually people would start shouting at me from across the street: “Hey, Poop Bag Guy! Howyadoin?”
In the event some of you are taking this too seriously, let me point out that lugging his leavings is a small price to pay for having the world’s most fantastic dog. And that, though big dogs leave big droppings, the loads of joy they bring far outnumber them.
In the event you’re a company that just so happens to market a handsome, discrete, odor killing poop bag “caddy,” let me say I wish you success, but that to me bagging, re-bagging and de-bagging just seems like too much work, and that I’m not willing to pay money to avoid being embarrassed (though we’ll happily run your paid advertisement).
In the event you want to be my poop valet, feel free to stop by and pick up an application, but be aware I can’t pay for that, either. It would me more of an internship, really — interns being used to doing the sh … stuff … nobody else wants to do.
And, of course, you’d have to provide your own red vest.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 20th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, bag, bagging, baltimore, big dogs, caddy, clean up, courier, dog, dog walking, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, etiquette, feces, first impressions, garbage, home, impressions, john waters, large dogs, lawns, manners, neighborhood, pets, pick-up, poop, poop bag guy, poop valet, sack, scoop, self confidence, self esteem, shit, socializing, stinky, trash cans, travels with ace, walking dogs, waste, winston-salem