Dear PoPville – Advice on Dealing with a Dog Walker Who Doesn’t Leash nor Clean Up after his Dog

Photo by PoPville flickr user Mr. T in DC

Dear PoPville,

There is a man in our neighborhood who walks his pit bull daily up and down our street with no leash. The dog hasn’t attacked a person or another animal as of yet, so that’s not the immediate issue (we’ll save that for another day). The problem is that the owner allows his dog to crap anywhere and doesn’t even attempt to clean it up. Now let me clarify; when I say anywhere, I mean anywhere, which includes people’s yards, the middle of the sidewalk, and even people’s front stoop steps! This is no small dog and thus no small load of crap. It’s absolutely disgusting! This issue was recently brought up at an HOA meeting and while everyone has seen the perpetrator at one point or another, no one has seen him recently (though the crap out front lets us all know he’s around) and no one knows where he resides.

I’ve contacted 311 about this issue and was told to contact MPD (via 911) the next time he is seen so that they can issue him a ticket for walking the dog without a leash and failing to clean up after the dog. The problem is that 1) I think calling 911 over this issue is a bit extreme and 2) it’s highly unlikely that they’ll make it there in time to catch the guy. Should I call 911 and report these incidents anyway just so there’s a record of such transgressions or are there other alternatives that I could explore? Yes, I could stake out the front of my house and then have a conversation with the guy but since he seems so elusive at the moment, I need other alternatives while I continue to clean up dog crap from the yard and walkways. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

55 Comment

  • it sounds like the guy isn’t being a good neighbor, however, calling the police on account of dog shit sounds a little weak – at least as your first recourse. were i in your shoes i’d have confronted him after i noticed he was a repeat offender. since it sounds like you haven’t seen him lately i’d just hold tight a little longer and the next time you see him approach him in an ammicable manner and let him know what you think, that you believe you speak for all the neighbors when it comes to asking him to change his ways. if that doesn’t work THEN call the cops! passive aggressiveness is a weak strategy in life.

    • A polite conversation, if one is possible in this situation, may be the best first step. If it were me, however, I’d organize a phone tree with the HOA and try to have at least two or three neighbors confront him together. You never know if the guy is more anti-social than just allowing poopy lay turds all over town, and having several folks approach him would be safer than just one.

      • I don’t think it requires politeness, he’s allowing his dog to poop anywhere and to intimidate people in his neighborhood. Quite obviously inconsiderate behavior akin to a total moron.

  • Here’s a aggressive aggresive response: Find out where he lives. Bag the dogshit, bring it to his house, and drop it (bagless) on his steps.

    But calling the cops … if this is a constant recurring issue, I would. Unleashed dogs… not good. Unleashed pits.. not even close to good.

    What neighborhood is this in? (as a dog owner, it would be good to know so it could be avoided on our walks).

    • gotryit

      +1 for the solution
      +1 for aggressive aggressive

    • My thoughts exactly, follow him home. Leave the dog crap on his front porch with a note.

    • -1 for labeling this pit as aggressive or dangerous. It’s not the breed, it’s the human behind it.

      • There is no where in my post where I labeled the dog aggressive. All animals (humans included) can be dangerous.

        -100 on your reading comprehension skills.

        • “Unleashed dogs… not good. Unleashed pits.. not even close to good.”

          You’re quite clearly implying that pit bulls are inherently more dangerous than any other breed of dog. Stop being an ass

          • No, I did not. There is quite a difference from an unleashed corgi and an unleashed pit bull. There is quite a difference between an unleashed daschund and an unleashed doberman pinsher. If you cannot understand the difference, I can’t help you with that.

            And don’t call me an ass. Stop being an (anonymous) jerk.

          • I don’t mean to sound breedist, but the risk and commensurate harm an unleashed pit can cause > many/most breeds.

            An unleashed pug is one thing. An unleashed pit is another, especially in a city that prizes individual desires (especially involving dogs) over fellow humans.

      • “Its not the breed but its the human behind it”? If only the left wingers had this same mentality about gun control!! is your stance on gun control?

  • Sounds like Randolph St. to me…

    • Totally. I see that guy on Randolph and 13th all the time. I’ve felt the same way, especially when I’m walking my dog on leash and have to avoid him.

      • I thought the same, but I’m not aware of Randolph St having a HOA (though I’d love it if it did! Seems to be a lot of Randolph St neighbors on PoP).

    • Haha, I noticed this dude around the area too, he has a redneck mustache and he walks with his wife and kid all the time on that block. Really ignorant of him to do this. I’d say something to him if I see the dog pooping and he doesn’t pick it up, but it seems like he’s pretty sneaky about intentionally not having to pick up after his dog, walking it at night. I also think him walking the dog off leash is a little intimidating to people in the area, it could also easily attack anyone’s dog, the cops should be called on him.

  • Call the cops. We pay them to enforce the laws.

  • You probably should borrow a chimpanzee from someone. Walk it without a leash. Try and time your walks for times when he is outside. Train the chimpanzee to take off his diaper and smear the contents on the guy’s face.

    Problem solved. I have no other constructive ideas.

  • Gross. People can be so rude.

  • Ever since 311 became the number for D.C. government services, 911 has been the number for non-emergency police calls as well as police calls.

    So calling 911 isn’t “extreme.”

    If/when you confront the guy in person, tread very carefully — you don’t know how he’s going to react. You might want to rehearse it first with someone else in your HOA.

  • What I do is get some wooden coffee sticks and staple on an index card. Write on the index card things like “i wouldn’t poop on your front steps” “this is disgusting” “please pick up your poop”. Then go around and put one in each pile, keep doing it, and hope he finally gets the message.

  • I think before calling the police I would try, like others have suggested, politely confronting him and asking him to pick up after the dog. If he refuses or is rude, you can use that when explaining to the police.

    As a dog owner, I hate people like this. I am so diligent about picking up after my dog and it’s people like that who make others not crazy about dogs. Whenever I see someone about to leave without picking up after their dog, I will loudly say – oh, would you like a bag – that way it embarrasses them into picking it up or, if it’s someone who just ran out/forgot, they’re grateful and pick it up. Either way, the poop gets cleaned up.

  • There is a professional dog walker who almost daily sits with his 12 dogs and 2 helpers on a leash near union station. Great site, but when he leaves, they leave behind a pile of cigarette butts! Wish he’d clean up his own mess!

  • Better than finding out where he lives, since it might be an apt. bldg, is note which car is his. Smear on the door handle, windshield. Did that years ago with a neighbor who let his unleashed doberman poop in everyone else’s yard. He had a Jeep so I even got to put it in his driver’s seat! The guy quit letting Pinchy go in others’ yards.

  • I’ll start by saying I absolutely love pit bulls, and it’s really sad and frustrating, particularly for this breed, to hear about people letting them wander around off of a leash. That being said, I would be hesitant of approaching him on your own – a stupid dog owner may mean that the dog hasn’t had proper training and could be aggressive (again, not the dog’s fault, stupid people shouldn’t own pit bulls!). My best advice is to call 911 if that’s to be used for non-emergency things. Can you take a picture of it happening?

  • I harken back to the mention of a Homeowners’ Assocation (HOA). That would indicate that there is a community – with community rules in addition to any laws that the city might have. If all of this is happening within the confines of a legally encorporated condo community, then there should be rules about dog owners. Should be, yes! The HOA should be the ones who take action, levy fines, etc. Good luck.

    • I forgot to mention – I live in a gated condo community, have a dog and always, always pick up after her. Our community has poop stations all over the place and they provide sturdy poop bags for our use, thus giving everyone an incentive to do the right thing. We also have well-written rules about this sort of thing and anyone can report another owner/resident for infractions of rules. The reporter stays anonymous.

      One day, I witnessed a preppy type dude having his dog poop right in front of my unit and walk away without cleaning it up. I stepped outside and asked if he was going to clean it up. He got furious and tried to follow me into my unit, holding my door open. Scared the bejeebus outta me. When he saw someone else in the house, he back down. I didn’t report him (since I had no idea where in the community he lived), and I actually never saw him or his dog again.

      My point – no matter how clean, innocent or whatever a person may seem, don’t mess with them as you’ll never know how they’ll react – especially if you question the care of their dogs.

  • the next time it’s on your stoop, take a lesson from Can’t Buy Me Love. Bag that up in a brown paper bag and throw it on his front door.

  • Buy a bigger pitbull to kill his pitbull. Or a tiger.

  • Call 911! Call 911! Call 911! Call 911! Call 911! Call 911! Call 911! Call 911! Call 911! Call 911! Call 911! Call 911!Call 911! Call 911! Call 911! Call 911! Call 911! Call 911! Call 911! Call 911! Call 911! Call 911! Call 911! Call 911!

    It is not too extreme. This is how you contact the police.

  • Why do people call 311 only to be told to dial 911 and then decide it is too extreme?

    Call 911! Call 911! Call 911! Call 911! Call 911! Call 911! Call 911! Call 911! Call 911! Call 911! Call 911! Call 911! Call 911! Call 911! Call 911! Call 911! Call 911! Call 911! Call 911! Call 911! Call 911! Call 911! Call 911! Call 911!

    Not too extreme–it’s how it is done here if you wish to contact the police.

  • I’m more concerned about the off-leash thing than about the poo, though the latter is very bad behavior too. And I’m worried mostly about the dog’s welfare being off leash: it suddenly sees a squirrel across the street and darts out in front of a car. For the off-leash issue, you could call WARL and ask their officer’s to make a welfare visit to impress this point on the owner. As an added benefit they will check for any signs the dog is being fought, just to be sure.

  • Call Jim Graham!! He’s gotta be good for something.

  • If you see him letting the dog crap and not picking it up, have a bag ready and go offer it to him saying, “here, you must have forgotten your bag, you can borrow one of mine.” Hopefully that’ll let him know that you know what he is doing is wrong. Tell him how you see rats sniffing around left-behind piles of turds and no one wants rats.

    Of course, if he is a total d*ck he won’t change his behavior but it’s worth a shot. I’ve had pretty good luck using this scenerio with a few offenders on my block.

  • sigh. I think I am going to read the wheelchair pumpkin lady story again.

  • saf

    Where do you live that there’s a HOA?

    • I was thinking that the OP must’ve been using the term “HOA” to mean an informal block association or neighborhood group… but I guess there are some new-ish developments that have formal, membership-required, dues-charging HOAs (like Harrison Square in the U Street area, and presumably other EYA developments).

  • Thanks to everyone for your feedback.

    To answer some folks questions: I live in a new townhouse community in NE DC, so yes, we have a HOA that we must pay dues to each month. While our HOA docs outline the behavior expected of homeowners, we have no control over other folks in the neighborhood (and no, our community is not gated).

    My guess is that this guy walks his dog in the middle of the night, hence why no one has seen him recently. Some weekdays I work from home and have a clear view of my front yard during most of the day, and I never see him during those times. I’m going to put up the no pooping dog sign but as inconsiderate as he is (seriously, I have to scan my steps and walkway when I leave the house), I doubt it will have much effect.

    I’ve only personally had a run in with him once, some months ago, when I stepped out the house with my leashed dog. Luckily, he was able to intersect his pit bull before he made a mad dash for my terrier; he cornered the dog and took off his belt to create a makeshift choke collar. Apparently, my neighbor wasn’t so lucky. As she was walking her dog, the dog charged towards her but seemed more curious than aggressive. However, her leashed dog doesn’t do well with larger dogs and so freaked out. It was this neighbor who informed that this guy was the culprit of all the poop (had I known that at the time that I saw him, I would have spoken to him about it). This is just another example of how irresponsible this dog owner has been; the dog often gets away from him and out of his control.

    I’ll pass on the word to the HOA that if he’s seen again to 1) discuss the issue with him if they feel safe enough to do so and 2) call the police (if they don’t feel safe or) if the situation doesn’t improve.

  • Stop being a wuss and talk to the guy. You transplants are soo quick to call the police on everything and you wonder why you’re hated.

  • Go get cheapdried chilli from the hispanicfood section grind in coffee grinder fine sprinkle on stoop where dog sniffs and poops. Unfortunately only in dry will remember.

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