An open letter to dog owners

I like dogs.  I really do.  I have a cat, a stray that adopted me after I had to put down my previous cat (another stray that had adopted me.  Do they have a network letting each other know about people who’ll feed them and take them in?  I digress).  But even though I’ve had cats for the last 30+ years, I like dogs.

But what I don’t like are dog owners who don’t clean up after their dogs.  Almost every day when I go out to get the daily newspaper, I find a fresh “present” from someone’s dog.  I’m not exaggerating.  Every.  Single.  Day.

And that’s what really, seriously, ticks me off about dog owners.

Is it that hard to clean up after your dog?  Do you care that little about your neighbors that you feel it’s okay to let your dogs defecate on the neighbor’s lawn and walk away, leaving it for them to clean up?  What accounts for your rudeness and thoughtlessness?  I’ve even had a woman sneer at me when I watch her dog crap on my lawn and ask her to clean up the mess.  She cleaned it up, then dropped the bag on my lawn!  Better than leaving the exposed pile, but really?  You can’t carry it another block or so home to throw away in your own trash?

A few weeks ago when I mowed the front lawn, it having gone for longer than I would have liked due to a series of Santa Anas (extremely high heat) followed by rain.  The grass was pretty high because of the recent rains.  Because the grass was high, I walked through and mowed over very fresh -and I mean VERY fresh – dog poo.

The stuff stuck to the wheels of my lawn mower, got all over my pants, and also all over my shoes.  The shoes were ruined; the pants nearly so.  It smelled something fierce and was, to be frank, just plain nasty.

Why did the dog’s owner not clean up after the dog?  Before anyone says anything about the grass being long, leading the dog owner to think the homeowner probably didn’t care or that maybe the house was abandoned, I’ve seen dog piles on lawns that were freshly mowed, lawns whose owners literally mow them 2 times per week.  I’ve seen piles on lawns of people who mow literally 2 times per year.  And, of course, on lawns like mine where the owner mows once per month.

So what is it?  Why do you dog owners not clean up after your animals?  Do other dog owners not leave little gifts on your lawn so you don’t know how it feels?  Even if that’s the case, why should that matter?  It’s common courtesy to clean up after yourself and your animal.

Is it that you’ve run out of bags to clean up after your dog?  To be fair to most dog owners, I’ve seen the vast majority carrying bags and actually cleaning up after their dogs.  I sincerely appreciate it.  As is almost always the case, it’s the few, the ultra-minority that ruin it for the rest of the world.  But is it possible that those thoughtful owners run out of bags and feel they can leave one little mess for someone to clean up?

And for those who don’t carry bags to clean up after your dogs, first shame on you. You have an obligation to clean up after your dogs, an obligation you signed on for when you acquired your animal in the first place.  But second, would it be hard, for example, to go to someone’s house/door and ask for a plastic bag to clean up your dog’s mess?  I guarantee you that if you were to do that any momentary irritation the homeowner might have at being interrupted will give way to appreciation for the thoughtfulness of cleaning up after the dog.

But here’s the thing too: some cities have dog bag dispensers out.  And they will also have their street cleaners clean up a lot of dog poo right underneath those dispensers.  So even if every homeowner were to leave bags out or find some way to let dog owners know we/they would be willing to hand out bags, odds are that some would, nonetheless, ignore the option.

So to you dog owners who do clean up after your dogs, thank you.  I think I speak for every homeowner when I say we really appreciate that you’ve taken the time to clean up after your dog.  It’s not a pleasant thing to do and is probably the one of the few negatives of dog (or animal ownership generally; I don’t enjoy cleaning the litter box).  To those dog owners who don’t clean up after your dogs, shame on you. It’s not time consuming, it’s not an onerous task physically, and it’s just plain rude and crude.  You signed on for life with your dog, good and bad, sickness and health, and that includes cleaning up after your animal.

You owe it to your neighbors to make sure you clean up.

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About flatpickingjd

Just your average, liberal vegetarian redneck. Yes, I'm a liberal. Proudly so. I see nothing wrong with that and wear that label with pride. Yes, I'm a vegetarian. I used to be fat, very fat. Then I started taking care of myself, lost a bunch of weight and found it easier to keep that weight off by not eating meat. Or cheese. Or eggs. Or any good stuff. Man, I miss pizza. And, yes, I'm a redneck. I like camping and fishing, listen to bluegrass music and live (from time to time) in the south(west). So, yup, I'm just your average, liberal vegetarian redneck. Serious details about me: I make my living as a lawyer. My practice focus is business law, but I've dabbled in other areas including personal injury, family law, real estate, and water law. I also hold three master's degrees with plans to earn a doctorate. I hope you enjoy your time here, and feel free to comment!
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2 Responses to An open letter to dog owners

  1. petuccine says:

    i totally agree with you. its not very nice walking throw dog poop mine field. as a dog owner that cleanes up, i think thats fair, we do owe that to our neighbors.

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