Notes from Your Neighbors Vol. 17 – Truly Sick or Just Messing with People?

Photo by PoPville flickr user Rick Sause

A reader writes:

“His actions are waaaay too aggressive and border on harassment and cruelty to animals. Nonetheless, you likely have readers that aren’t on the list serv that need to be made aware of the “poison yard.” The police and District Environmental office have been made aware as well.”

From a Logan Circle neighborhood listserv:


To the person who lets their dog continuously poop on my lawn, and then not pick it up; be forewarned, I am deploying lots of doggie unfriendly chemicals to the yard.

In the never ending battle to keep unwanted elements out of my yard, I will be deploying all sorts of highly dangerous chemicals to the lawn. Almost all of the manufacturers have extreme warning labels, to keep animals and small children away after deployment for at least 3 days, and in some cases up to 2 weeks. The chemicals will not harm people walking by, since the yard is designed to keep the chemicals from spreading to the sidewalk (although some did blow back on me while deploying today and turned my tongue purple).. Some type of chemical will be put on the lawn every week until maybe as far out as the late fall season. We started about 3 weeks ago, and I just finishing putting some down today. All of the chemicals are legal in most states, except the few that are leftover from the 1990s that I still have in stock. Email me if you have concerns.

The addresses impacted by all of the chemicals deployed include:9xx S Street 18xx 10th Street 18xx 10th Street

He’s gotta be just messing with folks right?

92 Comment

  • No way this is real. But I’m not sure why they would use their own address as a “joke”. How bizarre.

  • Sick. Call the police.

    • While it’s maybe not unreasonable to alert the cops to the presence of a possible crazy person, I don’t think there’s anything for them to actually do here.

      • Whether he’s put down chemicals or not, he’s made a threat of injury to animals and small children. I don’t have a dog, but I do have a naturally curious young child who likes to pick up things, like pinecones or an interesting, when we’re taking a walk.
        A non-sick person could just put signs in the yard indicating that they’d been treated. A sick person posts this screed about a willingness to make himself sick just to get back at someone.

        • Threat or warning? A threat is, “Your dog comes onto my property, I’m giving him a face full of DDT with a spray gun.” A warning is, “I have put dog-unfriendly (yet legal) chemicals down on my lawn, you slack-jawed jerk who refuses to pick up dog poop.” This is the latter. Would you rather him put down the same chemicals and NOT tell anyone?
          But, if you want to call the police and say, “The bad man is putting down lawful pesticides on his lawn, and my kid likes to pick up pinecones! Arrest him!” be my guest.

        • dcd is right. And even if you read this as a threat and not a warning, it’s not specific and it’s not very credible. I doubt the cops can do anything here more than stop by and have a quick chat.

      • My neighbor who sent this email is not sick or crazy. He’s just annoyed that inconsiderate people let their dogs poop on his property (which is beautifully maintained) and then don’t clean it up. He attempted to stop this behavior through humor, but unfortunately tone can be hard to read in an email.

    • The police? Nope, call the FBI. This person has made threats of “deploying” chemicals that are harmful to humans and animals. Trust me, they will take this very, very seriously.

    • For what offense? It would be a struggle to find any criminality here.

      A person can apply whatever legal chemicals they want on their own private property.

      • I’m not entirely sure that is true in the city, but point taken. I’m pretty sure there are laws regulating what chemicals you can use in your yard that could end up running out of your yard. And realistically in DC, front yards are “private property set aside for public use.” This topic has been covered here on POP before. So no, I don’t think you get to do whatever you want in your front yard.

        • I believe the business about front yards only applies to the Old City (i.e., within the original L’Enfant boundaries).

          • Not necessarily. My house is within the Old City and that rule doesn’t hold true on my block. And I know people outside of the original boundaries who hold easements for their front yards. It has more to do with how the street was ultimately built vs. how it was originally planned.

          • Isn’t the address mentioned part of Old City? I’m not far from there and I am.

          • Pretty much my whole front yard (in the northern part of Petworth) is technically not my private property, so it’s nothing to do with “the Old City” (is that actually a real term?) As Anon says, it appears to have to do with how the street was ultimately built vs. what the planners allowed for.

  • First, some of that stuff is obviously not true. Second, I don’t think it’s illegal to use pet unfriendly chemicals on your own lawn nor do I feel doing so rises to the level of harassment. Couldn’t allowing a dog to repeatedly poop on someone else’s lawn be considered harassment? Don’t go on this guy’s lawn, and your dog will be fine; right?

  • I’m also thinking there’s no way this is real, but it sure is odd. Is this the new version of shaking one’s fist while yelling “get off my lawn” from the front door, dressed only in a hastily-donned bathrobe?

  • HaileUnlikely

    Doing this for the express purpose of harming animals is pretty f*cking sick, but lots of chemicals that are marked for other perfectly legitimate lawn-care purposes happen to be very bad for people and animals to eat and breathe.

  • As long as by “lawn” he doesn’t mean “publicly owned tree box” then this is within his rights, but not a good way to make friends.

    As for tree boxes, you don’t own them and no matter how much work you put into them, I think they are free game for dogs. Having said that, I keep my dog out of any tree box that looks like it is actually maintained on a semi-regular basis out of simple courtesy.

    • “I think they are free game for dogs.”
      You still have to pick up the poop though, which seems to be the underlying problem here.

      • Good point, you do definitely have to clean up. But I’ve been yelled at for my dog pooping in an unkempt tree box even though I was standing there with a bag in my hand patiently waiting.

  • Not sure if he’s bluffing or what. As long as he puts up clear warning signage, though, why would this be a problem?
    This sounds like a last-ditch effort to scare the rogue dog-owner into compliance.

  • While I don’t agree with his methods I too would be pissed if some jerk kept letting his dog poop on my lawn and didn’t clean it up…maybe it is just joke to deter the irresponsible individuals. Everyone should clean after their pets…if you don’t like picking up after them then maybe you shouldn’t have a pet

  • I don’t advocate for drastic action, but I definitely understand it. Look I love Dogs. But if they get hurt on this guys lawn, it will be because of the owner’s actions not the animal. So the only person the dog owner can blame in that situation is themselves.

  • Allison

    I’m curious as to what he means by the chemicals being legal “in most states.” Chemicals for lawn application are often regulated at the federal level, such as pesticides, which are subject to the Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). Fertilizers (or ingredients in them) might be regulated by the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). And truly hazardous chemicals are regulated at the federal level. And things that aren’t a pesticide or a fertilizer will probably just kill all of his grass.
    In any event, it suggests to me he’s full of it.

  • I don’t think you can NOT take threats like this seriously. Despite the fact that it’s likely a cruel joke/scare tactic, I would call the police to see if there is anything they can do (especially with mention of the illegal chemicals “still in stock.”). Threatening the lives of our pets is not cool and is some serious sociopathic behavior.

    • I don’t think that calling the police should always be the first response. To call this note sociopathic is a tad hysterical.

    • The note never said the chemicals were illegal in DC, so no, he or she didn’t mention ‘illegal’ chemicals. As a dog owner who also lives in Logan Circle, I recognize that my pet isn’t entitled to be on your land. Private property is just that: private. No one’s pets have the right to trespass on another person’s yard. This isn’t a threat; it’s a warning, and one given after the property owner experienced a lot of literal sh*t. Don’t let your pet on the properties referenced by the person, it’s pretty simple.

      • “All of the chemicals are legal in most states, except the few that are leftover from the 1990s that I still have in stock.”
        This very clearly says that “the few left over from the 1990s” are illegal. That’s what “except” means.
        Of course, as our legal eagles have pointed out, this is mostly regulated at the federal level, so Chuckles here obviously doesn’t know what he’s talking about, or more likely doesn’t care because he thinks he’s funny.

        • Since we’re splitting hairs on this thread, “legal in most states except…” doesn’t apply to the *District* of Columbia, which is not a State. So in all likelihood the chemicals this guy claims to have are not being disclosed as illegal in the jurisdiction where they have been purported to have been deployed.

      • This!

        His tone and approach are admittedly harsh, but how difficult is it for a pet owner to realize that he alone is responsible for the animal he chooses to keep?

    • Do you think “this behavior” is less sociopathic than allowing your pet to defecate all over the neighbors’property? Please reply; I’m making a list.

  • Hilarious! Turned his tongue purple 🙂 of course he’s joking. Anybody who doesn’t clean up their dog’s poop is a jerk. Doesn’t matter where the dog poops. And for the guy who thinks that tree boxes are fair game — if someone has gone through the trouble of planting nice flowers in theirs, why would you let your dog piss in that particular spot, when it might kill those flowers??

  • Can you provide the exact addresses mentioned in the letter? As someone who walks his dog in the area (and always picks up after him), I’d like to know exactly where these chemicals may be.

    • +1. Although my dog -never- relieves himself in other people’s yards, he does like to nip at grass and plants next to the sidewalk when we take walks. This note really freaks me out.

  • tonyr

    The purple tongue comment made me giggle. PSA – a while back I noticed that my tongue had turned black. I looked it up on WebMD and was relieved that it said that it was no big deal. Since WebMD typically says that any symptom is late stage cancer I was pretty happy. It said that it was probably related to a change in diet, so I blamed a surfeit of Thai food and went to work with mouthwash, flossing, brushing etc. The only change was that my teeth started to stain. I eventually gave up and went to my dentist. She told me that Crest mouthwash is notorious for this kind of thing, and the more I took the worse it would get! After an hour of scraping and discontinuing the mouthwash I’m all back to normal.

    • “Since WebMD typically says that any symptom is late stage cancer I was pretty happy.”

      This is hilarious and so true.

  • I think it’s pretty obviously a bad joke, what with the “legal in most states except a few” thing, and the purple tongue thing. I wonder how funny it will be to him when the enviro cops show up and ask to see the containers.

  • Has anyone considered that perhaps the person writing did not give HIS address but the address of someone he might have a problem with? (Also, it’s kind of weird there are 3 addresses. Even if he was on a coner, that doesn’t make any sense…)

    • Yep, kinda wondered the same thing.

    • I assume that he’s giving a range, not an address — in this case, the corner of the 900 block of S Street, and the two sides of the 1800 block of 10th street. The shat-upon lawn somewhere in this quadrant 🙂

  • People who dislike dogs are sociopaths.

    • Blithe

      That’s a pretty broad statement. I’m curious — how would you describe people who deliberately let their dogs trespass on someone else’s property, and poop on someone else’s property, leaving the mess for the owner to clean? The entitlement and disdain for someone else’s feelings, property, and general rules is pretty much the definition of sociopathic.

      • +500 People can adore dogs and still hate the fact that some dog owners in the city are so irresponsible in failing to clean up after their pets. No one’s dog is cute enough to make such crappy, entitled behavior OK.

      • +1. Another very reasonable, sensible statement from Blithe.

      • it’s also a ridiculous statement. i love dogs now, as an adult. when i was a kid, however, a pinscher viciously attacked me (and also another neighbor down the street a couple days prior!). i was terrified of dogs for years after and only have recently become okay around them. so yeah. people who dislike dogs might just have other things going on.

      • justinbc

        “People don’t leave poop in people’s yards, dogs do.”

      • Agreed. I find the behavior of most dog owners (me stumbling over your damn beagle whose leash is too long) in DC to be sociopathic.

    • Anonomnom

      We went from an obvious overreaction (Purple tongue?!) to another obvious overreaction. I have no dislike of dogs, but do not want one. Yet I have a dog poop in my lawn at least once a week with no one picking it up… If I did dislike dogs outright because of this, it wouldn’t be really that unreasonable. Instead, I just dislike lazy dog owners… Not the pup’s fault, I guess.

  • In what circumstances can you actually get fined for not picking up after your dog? I see the signs everywhere but how does it actually work in practice? Does a police officer need to witness it? Can you take a picture of the offender, then call the police and tell them where the offender lives?

  • Its clearly hyperbole. The guy sounds like a curmudgeon/insane hybrid. But, simply, there arent any chemicals that are HIGHLY TOXIC (i.e. severe adverse effects associated with a few ppm inhalation or incidental skin contact) that are commercially available, wont wreck his yard, inconspicuous, and odorless. He could be deploying yard chemicals that are toxic to dogs and children, but short of ingestion, I’m not sure what type of poisoning he is anticipating. Dogs pooping/peeing dont really expose them in any way that theyre not already exposed to these chemicals walking around town.

    As for children, intentionally deploying dangerous chemicals outside of their intended use (lets say it actually does wreck his yard, isnt a yard product, etc) with the stated purpose of causing harm is a threat. He phrased it as a warning, but its clearly a threat. But, that didnt actually happen. He’s just rattling his saber a bit.

  • If I’m not mistaken, the person who wrote the email owns a few dogs himself. Pretty sure he was joking when he sent this to the neighborhood distro. I question the efficacy of the email and the dark humor, but it’s safe to say that it was an attempt at humor.

    • +1. I don’t think it’s actually funny in any way, but anyone who is feeling genuinely alarmed or threatened by this probably needs to have their sensors adjusted.

  • am I the only one who thinks that the “bad guy” is the person who’s letting their dog poo? The threat is a joke, and even if it is not, he’s pouring chemicals in his lawn, his private property

  • The majority of this homeowners’lawn is 18 inches above the sidewalk and fenced. Dog owners must make extra effort to access this lawn. Entrance can be gained by walking up the front steps or from the alley through the private parking area. I am not a war time consigliere.

    • I was thinking the same thing….. thus why I was wondering if it was ACTUALLY him or someone who has an issue with that place for whatever reason. Either way, not funny.

  • Could the city please use (or threaten to use) these chemicals on the playgrounds and ball fields? The huge signs saying “No Dogs Allowed” don’t seem to work.

  • There’s a house on I st ne that has a sign telling people to not let dogs pee on their plants along the sidewalk. I always stop my pup there for a pee break. Oops.

  • Am I the only one who is disturbed by the fact that a post about *possible* danger to dogs gets more comments than a post about an unconscious man in the street not being treated as an emergency? I know, I know, pounce on me if you will, but I’m so sick of the deification of cats and dogs. I get it, I love animals too, but seriously…

  • I’m the guy who wrote the original email to my immediate neighbors. The reason for the email was due to some stupid “poop terrorist” deciding that my lawn is considered community property. I spend a fortune keeping my lawn up; every year I mulch, replace all dead plants, put tons of fertilizer/chemicals on the lawn, and conduct constant weed control. I also pay a lawn service monthly to assist in keeping my lawn looking nice. NO ONE else in our neighborhood spends anywhere near as much as I do on my lawn….I put in a $8,000 irrigation systems, $22,000+ in plants and trees, spend at least an extra $100 per month in water to maintain it all, and pay a huge yearly property tax and DC income tax bill. This lawn is for the benefit, and private use, of me and my DOG. I forgo vacations to have a nice lawn, and not only find it exceptionally insulting for someone open up my “closed gate” to let there dog poop on my lawn, but find it threatening that they would leave the poop; as if to say “yea, I let my dog poop on your lawn, and Fuck you home owner, what are you going to do about it”. I know we have a lot of “poop terrorist sympathizers” and “poop communist” in the community who believe that all outdoor space should belong to everyone, but this is America, property owners are allowed to keep unwanted guest out, period. For all of you “Anti-Capitalist Racist Homophobic Environmental Nazis”, go get a life, all of the chemicals are bought from Home Depot or Ace Hardware…so if they are sold in the city they are fucking legal, and I refuse to even consider your insane comments. If this needs to progress to the next level of conflict, I will certainly sign Executive Order number 6, authorizing limited US Military response to “poop terrorist”. Americans need not tolerate “poop terrorist” while trying to enjoy the great vistas of their own lawn. Before signing the Executive Order, I will be polling neighbors to form the “Coalition of the Willing” as we prepare to confront this long-term threat of “poop terrorism” and prevent the spread of “poop communism”. May God Bless America!!! Good Night and Good Luck!!!

    • How much you spend on your lawn is irrelevant. Either people have a right to use your lawn or they don’t and it doesn’t really matter how nicely manicured it is.

      That said, you should probably investigate whether you are actually legally correct that your lawn isn’t available for public use. As noted above, in some parts of DC, the statement that the front lawn of your home is your property and you can keep anyone out is actually not completely true.

      Otherwise, I completely sympathize with you and whether it is your lawn or a public tree box/park/grassy knoll, people who do not pick up their dogs’ poop are terrible human beings and they are everywhere. But, at the end of the day, you should probably get a little perspective. Dog poop is probably less harmful for your lawn than the chemicals you’re putting on it every year. It’s no excuse, but this is also not the most egregious act committed by someone in DC on any given day either.

      • I wish that I had more thumbs to give this more than just two thumbs up!

      • You don’t know what you’re talking about. Even if you don’t own in fee simple that portion of the District’s right of way that is commonly known as SOME people’s front yard, you do have the right of exclusive use.

      • Thanks for your reply – The grass is sod from Maryland, so I most certainly own the sod even if I do not own the ground under the sod…. and I certainly own all of the plants. So pooping on the sod is like letting you dog into my house to poop on my kitchen floor. What really makes me mad is, my dog has gotten sick from eating some “poop terrorist” left poop. Try taking your dog to City Paws because he ate some lazy f-ing dog owners poop!!!

    • Awesome post. You have my support.

    • You, sir, are a true American patriot! Down with “poop terrorists” and their sympathizers! LOL 🙂

    • Also, there are various types of motion-detecting water sprinklers. Perhaps the “poop terrorists” will be less inclined to visit if they get a spritz every time they come onto your property.

      • Waiting for the Chairman of the “Joint Chiefs” to draw up Executive Order #7 and pass to my desk for signature, then things will really get interesting!!!!

    • You might want to think about your liability here. If someone’s dog, or god forbid child, gets sick from those chemicals and their lawyer sees this post….you will very likely lose your house in the ensuing lawsuit. I dont see the point in poisoning anyone’s animal over your grass, no matter how expensive it is.

      Your post, while you claim it is humor, could quite easily be taken as a threat.

  • Really simple: stay of his/er lawn.

    Get a life.

  • My clients’ lawn is not at street level. Poop terrorist must walk up steps,open the gate to enter the yard.

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