Dear PoPville – I’m Tired of All the Horseshit, Literally


Dear PoPville,

I’m tired of the horseshit, literally.

I understand there are a lot of double standards in this city, but one I just can’t wrap my head around is that of the mounted police. I live near the MPD stables and have found that when they are exercising or employing their mounted force, the police officers don’t clean up after their equine companions.

If the police horse is considered an animal, then it should have to be cleaned up after just like any other domesticated pet. If I allowed my dog to defecate in public, and didn’t clean up after her, I would be subject to a hefty fine.

Why the double standard? Why can’t the horses be cleaned up after? I’ve contacted Mayor Vincent’s office, but heard no response.

The first photo is of horse waste on the Ellington Bridge near the stables. The second photo is at the Cherry Blossom Festival near the Jefferson Monument.

Ed. Note: I believe those horses are Park Police and not MPD.


60 Comment

  • Unlike dog poop…take this to your garden and put it on your plants! Problem solved.

  • Good luck getting the police to pick up after their horses.

  • Try Mayor Gray’s office next time.

  • I like it; it’s European

  • I used to get really annoyed by this and sometimes still do, but it’s never going to change. So I decided to stop getting aggravated by it.

  • anon. gardener

    While horse manure is pretty benign compared to dog poop – google it – yes, they should pick up after their horses. Send someone to walk the route they took at the end of the day and clean up.

    Also, fyi, manure needs to be rotted before you put it on your garden.

    • If the horse is infected with an array of parasites or bacteria the feces is too. Same with dogs. Same with humans. There might be a reason why dog poop is not good for gardening, but it being any more or less hazardous than horse poop is well… horse poop. Maybe parasites and bacteria are more prevalent in dogs, I dont know, but I dont think the danger of handling dog poop vs horse poop vs random dirt is much different. If you start licking your fingers afterwards you are potentially being exposed to lepto, salmonella, e. coli, worms, campylobacter, and some others that I dont remember. Dogs, humans, and horses can all carry these. Dont play with poop. If you do, wash your hands.

  • Yeah, I’ve wondered about this myself. I’ve seen horses that wear little pouches that catch the poop but maybe that would become a disaster if they had to take off at full gallup or something?

    • anon. gardener

      yes, a total disaster. those kinds of poop catchers or diapers work well for carriage horses, but police horses, not so much. extremely impractical and dangerous.

  • This is a rant, because we all know nothing will ever be done by it.

    • I’ve ranted about this out loud too, because I walk across this bridge almost daily. I think it’s Park Police and you know what I’m going to do the next time I see it? CALL the Park Police, and complain to them. Tweet them a picture. Annoy them until I get a response. It’s gross and uncool.

  • It’s all over the National Mall too. I jog on my lunch break everyday and I am constantly jumping over it.

    • Consider it a customized obstacle course. Some people would pay extra for that.

      • Ha ah ah, that’s looking on the bright side! Between the horse s**t and the swarms of tourists/school groups, it really is an obstacle course!

        • Allison

          Two birds one stone: push the tourists onto the poop and then jog over them. (Just kidding! I try to be really nice to the tourists!)

  • When you consider the other choices, “manure” is actually pretty refreshing.

  • They are part of the US Park Police, so good luck getting them to do anything about it, ever. More than just about any other law enforcement jurisdiction, the Park Police more or less operate above the law, and it literally takes an act of congress to bring about any sort of change in their organization, whatsoever.

  • If this is your biggest issue a) with living in D.C. and/or b) in life, wow, lucky you. I walk the Ellington Bridge every, single, day and it’s not that big of deal. Would it be nice if it was cleaned up? Sure, but it’s also big and obvious enough that you can avoid it.

    • Prince Of Petworth

      Ha! “it’s also big and obvious enough that you can avoid it.” I suppose that sorta thinking could apply to many of DC’s problems.

    • justinbc

      I don’t believe the OP ever stated that it was.

    • Seconded…I don’t think I’ve ever seen horse shit on the bridge. Is it really that big of a problem?

      • Prince Of Petworth

        Despite the obvious pun, I’m curious why folks would be so angry that people care. To answer your question I assume it’s because it’s freaking disgusting. If you don’t care – good for you. Your inability to understand why others would care – I find equally disconcerting.

        It’s like those who say – how can you care about people who litter (or anything deemed less severe than a violent crime) when we have murders going on? One, they are not mutually exclusive. Two, quality of life issues are important. Not everyone likes horse shit on their sidewalks. Is it as important as solving a murder? No. Is it still important to some? Yes. It is really that simple.

        • Nicely stated, PoP.

        • I understand, but it really is something that has never bothered me. Especially when on the Ellington Bridge – there are other views I’m pondering when I’m walking across there.

          I’m much more likely to get upset when I see someone dropping a McDonald’s wrapper on the ground vs having a Park Police horse drop a steaming pile, but hey, that’s me.

  • box that sh’t up. make it look like it came right of a UPS truck. place it in an area where thieves are stealing packages. sit back and watch as the prick opens up a poo package!

    • Genius!

    • Thieves have been stealing packages in this area, so it’s a perfect plan.

      But also I have noticed that somehow, at some point, it does get cleaned up. I haven’t seen anyone cleaning it up, but I’ve seen it gone hours later (and no, it wasnt the rain).

      Also, horse manure is about the most benign poo of them all. It’s all hay and a small reminder that we live in a wild and weird world. So actually I think I like it.

  • tonyr

    Reminds me of my father who was always collecting this, for the garden, after the police horses had left. His favourite joke was to ask me if I put horse manure on the rhubarb; then he’d say that he preferred ice cream.

    I’m here all week.

  • Having grown up with horses, I can safely say that, logistically, this would be a real nightmare. I did see someone do this once at Versailles outside of Paris. A girl was riding her horse through the courtyard early in the morning and her horse went to the bathroom. Since it’s the Louvre, I guess this isn’t permitted. She jumped off the horse, and while holding the reins with one hand, pulled out a little shovel from her saddle bag and also pulled out and opened up a big trash bag. She then had to shovel the manure, tie up the bag with a knot, and then tie the bag to her saddle and ride away. I’m not kidding.

    I think that’s a bit impractical for a police officer. Horse manure doesn’t smell nearly as badly as other types of manure, so I think you just have to deal.

  • If it’s the Park Police doing this, I suppose you could write Eleanor Holmes Norton and send her some photos of manure piles. This sounds like the type of quality of life issue that she could get some congressional reps to respond to (although it would be stronger if your non-DC relatives wrote their elected representatives on your behalf).

    *dreaming of the day we have congressional representation*

    Have we ever had a ballot initiative for statehood, just to get the level of public support on the record?

  • Just pick up all the manure and return it to the police station.

    “You dropped this.”

  • America!

  • I’m super frustrated by it too! It would really suck to step in it on my way to work. I moved here from NYC – the NYPD have horses too but they all have poop bags:

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