Pushed Over the Edge

“Dear PoP,

I agree with the intent of this neighborhood activist. I had a passing thought that it would be nice to clean up this particular block while walking my dogs the other day. This person at least acted on their thought by going to trouble of cleaning it up and I appreciate that. I think your blog is a nice place to “re-purpose” this public service announcement and toss out the idea that maybe neighborhood dog owners could do some kind of “poop removal” days on a regular basis.

I would much rather do whatever it takes to minimize the animosity between neighborhood dog owners vs. non-dog owners. It already sucks. Dogs poop and dogs bark. I pick up my poop. I will start cleaning up the poop in that area from now on. I try to keep my dogs from barking but they do and I am glad they do. Some of my neighbors are glad they do and some of my neighbors hate it.

As a single woman who lives alone, I have a big scary dog for a reason. I get that some people don’t like dogs and I don’t like stepping in poop either. I try not to even read all the flaming that goes on about dogs because it is typically repetitive and depressing. But, at least for now, DC residents are allowed to own dogs and it would be better to just figure out how to quit all of the hating because it makes living here suck.”

I think in life there are always going to be some jerks. Some are irresponsible dog owners, some litter, some harass people and some do a lot worse. I hope we can give the benefit of the doubt to our neighbors and only judge the guilty and deal with those instances in less passive aggressive ways. I do however feel the frustration on both sides of this situation. Any suggestions on how to bridge the gap here?

57 Comment

  • this post is crappy

  • I work real hard to keep my grass green. Too many dog owners around here clean up poop but at the same time let their dogs pee in anybody’s yard. One pee and it’s all downhill, as now every dog has to pee in the same spot. Filled with dead patches, my yard surrenders. So do I.

    I think I’ll go pee on my neighbors front door mat now.

    • people let their dog into your yard, or do you mean between the sidewalk and curb? if they let them actually into your yard that’s pretty bad. i’d never let my dog do that.

      • I was wondering the same thing. Are we talking tree yard/tree box here or actual yard? I would never let my dog in someone else’s yard. And I keep him out of all but one tree box, and that one is overrun with weeds and has no flowers or grass, so it’s clearly not one the owners care about!

    • ah

      Dog owners ought to bring a spray bottle of water and hose down the pee spots so at least the pee gets diluted and doesn’t leave a brown spot.

  • As miserable as a dog owner makes life on the block where I live, I am glad that our “hating” (such an idiotic term) brings a little misery into the life of someone like him.

  • That note needs to be posted to passiveaggressivenotes.com. I can only imagine what the whole thing reads.

  • May I suggest some nice picture of a kid in Columbia Heights playing in the fountain, or a biker in seersucker, or a damn door knocker, or ANYTHING to go up instead of this post?

    Even if you just bury it (no pun intended), do something so that a pile of dog shit isn’t the first thing people see on the site. The sooner the better, PoP.

  • I’ll do a neighborhood poop removal when people-with-too-much-time-on-their-hands do a neighborhood douchebag removal.

  • Twice in the last week I’ve had neighbors thank me for picking up after my dogs and I reply that’s what your supposed to do. That being said in this city there are many who do not do what their supposed to do be it not pick up after their dogs, litter, etc. I am
    not sure how you make people become responsible citizens.

  • Most rowhouse owners in Petworth and Columbia Heights think they own their front yards but if they go back to their closing documents and look at the city plat, they would see that they usually own up to the edge of their front porches, and the city owns the rest (even though they can plant on it and often fence it in). So, Thought, the dogs are peeing on city-owned property.


    • …city-owned property that the owner is responsible for. Thought wants/tries to care for his lawn, but is frustrated by dogs and their owners. To sum up, I like your smiley face, but your point is irrelevant. 🙂

    • ah

      So you’re saying it’s okay to take a piss on city property? As a taxpayer, thanks a lot–your dog is hitting everyone, not just the property owner.

  • I too don’t like to step in dog poop, but I also don’t like to step in the other crap people leave on the street. In the past week I’ve encountered countless broken bottles, thousands of sunflower seeds, hundreds of chicken bones, dozens of cups, and a dirty diaper. Worst part is, my dogs try to eat most of this too. So if you don’t want my dog to poop, stop putting your delicious litter where they can get to it. And for the record, I always clean up after my dogs.

    • until you own a dog who is VERY adept at finding them, you will never realize the number of chicken bones that are left on the street.

      seriously, who is eating all this chicken? and why can’t the bones make their way to a trash can? do people assume it’s “natural” or biodegradable or something?

        • +2

          I am shocked…I hardly need to feed my dogs…there is so much discarded food around it’s unbelievable. Clearly there are many many humans who spend time in Petworth who leave far more crap lying around than the dogs do.

      • who is eating all this fried chicken?

        uhhh… racist dog whistle alert

        • I have no problem with people eating chicken, but why do they have to eat it on the move?! Sit down and eat your chicken, then take the bones and put them in a TRASH CAN! Chicken bones are a choking hazard for dogs and besides that, I’m sick of pulling them out of my dogs’ mouths.

      • birds and rats also move the bones around.

    • i would guess that its not hipsters eating chicken from a chinese sub/chinese/chicken place on the sidewalk and throwing their trash on the street. i am just sayin.

  • houseintherear

    I carry an extra roll of baggies with me all the time (not just when I’m walking my dog), and hand them out to people not picking up their dog’s poo. Yes it makes me a douchebaggy, judgemental dog owner, and No I don’t give a crap. The amount of times PER DAY I was seeing the irresponsible dog ownership behavior made me so angry a few years ago that I started carrying rolls in every purse and every pocket. I also have a roll in the armrest of my car, and have been known to pull over my car to give some guilty person a bag. I usually accompany the bag donation with, “People DO see you. And it’s the LAW, by the way.” (big fake toothy grin)

  • Speaking of this issue, the impromptu dog park on 11th and Park needs to be addressed. I was originally psyched the city fenced this in, thinking dog owners, grateful for the space, would take ownership of it. They have not. There are no regular clean-ups, no friends of association formed, nothing so far as I can see to address sanitary issues, no attempts to raise money or to enhance — just a bunch of crappy plastic chairs strewn about. I really wish the users would take ownership over the space which has really been abused and looks horrible. Obviously it would be great if the city would, but we knew from the beginning this was a long-shot since this is space owned by metro and we know they have no resources or will to maintain. Sorry for the rant, but on the topic of selfish dog owners (and for the record, I love dogs and favored the creation of this space), this rankles me the most.

  • +1 again, from an owner of one of those adept dogs. I’m pretty tired of not being able to walk her without having to remove someone else’s dinner from her mouth! I want to wage a public awareness campaign about disposing of chicken bones properly, but I don’t know how much good it would do.

  • Wait, people complain about dog pee too!? What are dog owners supposed to do? If dogs cant pee on any grass owned by someone else, where should they go?

    Its just a little urine, your yard will get over it. Chalk it up to city living, water it a little more, and feed it a bit more…. life will go on.

    • Please post your address seeing how you are volunteering your yard, I really need a nice place to pee. You can tell someone that didn’t grow up in the city by the telltale, if you don’t like it move away.

      • No one said “move out”, I just said get over it. If you dont like dog pee, put up a big fence, or water and feed your yard more often. Dont be surprised that after you put the fence up if birds, squirrels, and rats ignore your authority and pee there anyway.

        Regarding growing up in a city, where did you grow up? the moon? where dog pee isnt just a fact of life?

    • Dog urine destroys grass, thats where all the brown spots come from. It may just be female dog’s though, I’m not sure.

      • No, male dog pee does too. I have the brown spots in my yard to prove it.

        There are a lot of plants that are pee resistant that you can plant on the edge of your fence.

        • I really have to wonder with postage stamp sized yards in most of the district why dog pee on lawns is such an issue. I have never and don’t want grass in my front yard.

  • Poop in the grassy area in front of my house between the road and sidewalk doesn’t irritate me nearly as much as all the garbage people drop. Maybe once a week there will be poop, but every single day there is new garbage. The sidewalks constantly have broken glass eveywhere, and ugh, yes, the chickenbones! Wake up people, the dog poop doesn’t even begin to approach the amount of trash humans leave around!

  • The chicken bones thing is so weird. I don’t ever see random people just eating chicken in the streets … so I too wonder where all those bones come from. Not to mentino, the crazy amount of gum on sidewalks, which also drives me nuts when I have to remove it from my shoes. Unfortunately, there will always be a number of people with just no consideration for anyone else. Like this weekend on the metro, my train was coming, and a 20-something girl was blocking the escalator for all the people trying to walk down. I said “excuse me” and she said to her companion “I’m not moving, he can f–ing wait.” Perhaps the laziest thing I’ve ever seen in this city (all she had to do was move over on her escalator stair) and that is saying something. Me and the two guys behind me could do nothing but laugh … unfortunately, if people don’t learn basic consideration from their parents, there isn’t much we can do, so far as I can see, short of instituting a Singapore-like regime of canings for littering …

  • I own a dog and clean up after my dog. I rarely see people who do not clean up after their dogs when I am out walking — and yes, I have been known to hand off and extra bag when someone starts to walk away with out doing a pick-up. I’m sure this will get tagged as racist, but my observation is that the people who are not picking up their dog’s poop are of a very similar demographic to the folks tossing chicken bones and other litter — i.e. young AA and hispanic men, a lot of them with unneutered male pit bull (and trust me, there is no way I’m confronting them). Youngish white men with a lot of tattoos also seem to “not notice” their dogs droppings also — and they also seem to think that tossing a cigarette butt on the ground is perfectly acceptable behavior.

    I think the dog haters should open their eyes and realize that it is pretty must the same slobs tossing chips bags, chicken bones, cans, who are not picking up dog crap. Your campaign should be against inconsiderate folks who make the neighborhood their trash can. And, if my observations are correct the culprits in litter & poop are 1) all teenagers of any gender and 2) twenty something men of all races.

    • I have to agree. I also believe how someone grew up affects their trash-shit tolerance level.

      If you grew up in places with scant/no trash pick up-to wit, a poor, urban area or a poor part of a 3rd world country- you have a higher tolerance for this. There can be a racial and cultural component to this situation.

      Woodsy the Owl would help.

    • The only time in recent memory that I’ve seen someone leave behind crap their dog left on the sidewalk (which happened to be shortly after the other PoP post on this topic), the owner was a middle-aged white man with khakis and a button-down shirt (with no visible tattoos).
      I will not make any generalizations that those responsible for this behavior are wealthy males though – because I don’t think that insinuating that an entire (racial, ethnic, whatever) class of people are irresponsible leads to constructive dialogue.

      • well how nice for you, where I live, where I’ve seen people it has been one ethnic group alone and I’ve never seen anyone else do it in the last 15 years.

  • I moved from Capitol Hill to Penn Branch in 2003, thinking I would be dealing with dog shit less. I was wrong. My neighbors let their effing dogs shit on my walkway, yard, driveway, etc.
    One day I got fed up, took my snow shovel and flung it all back onto their property. Mostly where they parked their van on their driveway hoping they would step on it when they got out (they weren’t home at the time)

    I’m guessing this worked, as the mother of the house appologized to us and asked us to let her know when her son wasn’t picking up after her dogs business. It got a little better but not much.

    Now i’m back on the hill, living in an apartment building where people let their dogs pee in the elevator and don’t clean up after it.
    I’m exhasperated. If you can’t/don’t want to clean up after your pet, DON’T ADOPT ONE

  • (1) I’m a dog owner, and whoever wrote the letter and did the poop collection is spot-on. I hope they dropped it in front of the right house. Anybody who owns a dog and doesn’t clean up its crap deserves to lose the dog and be told how little he/she is appreciated by the rest of us. Just wish it had been directly on the front step.

    (2) As for where dogs poop/pee, my basic rule is that if you own a property and don’t want a dog using the edge of it, put up a fence, or at least post a sign. Dogs aren’t illegal in the city, and they have to use the bathroom. Fact of life. I once had a guy physically charge me and use all sorts of unpleasant words bc my dog was going in front of his large condo building. In some parts of the city, there is no sidewalk-to-curb strip, and that’s the option. I won’t let poochie go where people signal he’s not to go, but how in the world am I to know where that is if it’s not obvious?

    (3) This thread, as with most things on this blog, is probably best viewed through the lens of moderation. Most city dog-owners I know are cautious to a fault about cleaning up after their dogs and being good citizens. They yell at the bad dog-owners, and probably detest them more than the non-dog-owners do, because they have to deal with the stigma that the bad dog-owners create.

  • I am new here and I do have the trash problem. Since I lived here (one month) people have gone out of their way to throw used diapers and watermelon over the fence into my yard. Degenerate POS’s. The trash has improved some along the street as I think people see me picking it up and have not littered as much.

    It takes a village. Stay tuned for the creative signage.

  • I’m sure that there are many responsible dog owners, but there are also many who seem to think that any green space in the city is available for their precious pooch to do its business. Logan Circle is a perfect example of a park that has been ruined by dogs. None of the people who take their dogs there to run off leash and crap think that their dog is the problem (“I pick up after my dog”). But when you have a few hundred dogs each day pissing on the grass and running all over it, you have destruction. Now, what’s left of the grassy part of the park isn’t fit for use by humans, which is too bad.

    • A fair point. I’d actually support a heavier fee for annual dog licensing in the city, precisely for the purpose of funding the grass re-seeding, dog park maintenance, etc. necessitated by them.

  • Of the people who don’t clean up after their animals, I think, it’s only a small number who can be shamed with an angry note.

    I would assert the same thing about people who litter, empty their ashtrays in the gutter, throw away chicken bones in the bushes, or any number of other such things. There are plenty of people out there who are willing to live in garbage if it means they themselves can litter freely.

    Notes are sort of obnoxious though. Look how hostile this one allows the writer to be. We’re losing the ability to have and resolve conflicts. You shouldn’t write what you won’t say.

    • What kind of idiot leaves a note in public with a big F-U? Little kids can read, and they don’t need to see that. You can bet that they wouldn’t talk that way to their mother. You can’t enter a blog post like that either, without it getting flagged, but somehow the writer thought it was okay to leave a note like that on a public street.

  • not poop related, but I’ve recently noticed people on my block leaving boxes of free stuff (shirts, pants, suitcase, books) out in their front yards, presumably as an alternative to goodwill type donations.

    unfortunately, much of the stuff sits out there for days, get rained on, thrown around by neighborhood kids, etc. and ends up strewn up and down the block.

    please stop doing this. thanks.

    • Freecycle would be a great alternative to leaving stuff out or finding a way to get it to Goodwill – post a message on a Yahoo board, get a response, set a time or leave it out on your porch and your useless stuff gets a new lease on life.

      I’m not sure how you’d get your neighbors to adopt it, but it is a great thing.

  • I am just happy to hear that dog owners go through some sort of pain as well. I mean, I hate hate to come home to find that the nicely trimmed flowre box in front of my house has fresh dog poo and no one to claim it. Clean

  • I thought I’d follow up by saying that in addition to cleaning up after both my dogs, I also removed 9 chicken bones and one rib(presumably from a pig) from the streets this evening.

  • I can tell when she has to go so I steer her to the tree box for peeing and pooping. I clean up after my dog’s poop. I dont let her poop/pee in people’s yards (whether there is a fence up or not). Just that simple. Geesh!

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