It is Time to Talk about Your Dog, Like Shoveling This One is Very Clear, Don’t Be a Jerk Just Pick Up After Your Pet

dog shit

“Dear PoPville,

I don’t know if others have complained, but I can’t walk my dog in the dark through Petworth because the small narrow walkways shoveled out for pedestrians to walk are littered with dog poop everywhere. I’m a dog owner and a home owner and these people who don’t scoop their poop are beyond disgusting and terrible neighbors. What has always been a problem is magnified ten-gold because the dogs aren’t climbing on top of a foot high of snow to poop.

Can you please send a friendly reminder to folks to take two minutes to clean up after their pets. Thanks!”

Ed. Note: Look, I genuinely love dogs. I really do. As I’ve said before – my blogging day is never better than when I’m uploading dogs to the afternoon animal fix. It always brings a smile to face. Having said that – dog owners – please, please, please – don’t be an asshole. You know what you need to do. You don’t need a reminder to pick up after your pet. Perhaps you need a reminder to not be an asshole. So please consider this your reminder.

118 Comment

  • Fiance’ comes in last night says the dog pooped. Noticed there was no bag and asked if it was cleaned up. they said no, it’s in the snow. You would have thought I was the biggest a&%hole in the world for bringing up that it wasn’t okay to do that, then going to pick it up myself.

  • On my way to the Shaw metro this morning, the sidewalk was covered in smeared dog-business, it was very unpleasant and hard to avoid stepping in. Think of others people

  • justinbc

    “my blogging day is never better than when I’m uploading dogs to the afternoon animal fix”
    Queue incoming hate mail from cat owners.

    • Prince Of Petworth

      hahaha I have a cat, Dingo – most know I love cats too but they don’t apply to this post 🙂

      • My upstairs neighbors used to have an inside-outside cat that would poop in our shared yard. Needless to say it wasn’t ever picked up (except by my dog, who promptly ate it), since who follows their cat around outside?

      • justinbc

        I know, just trying to find some element of controversy, since it’s hard to argue against “you should pick up after your dog”, although it’s inevitable that someone will.

  • Very well put PoP!

  • This is a mystery to me. I’m a dog owner and I actually find it easier to pick up poop in the snow that in the normal leaves/grass/whatever.

  • I’ve seen this a lot around other parts of the city as well. Do people think it will just melt into the snow and nobody will notice if they don’t pick it up??

  • The other weird thing is people bagging their poop and then leaving the bagged poop in the snow.

    • +1 I’ve seen it so much even next to a can with room to throw it.

    • +1 Seen this all over the city! if your taking the time to bag it, please find a garbage can, or bring it home!

      • I see this all over the city, year round! I don’t get why people think it’s OK to leave the bags on the sidewalks or on the curb. At least poop will disintegrate on its own (still gross), but the bags don’t. Part of owning a dog is not only picking up the poop, but getting it into a trash can!

      • Point of Clarification: Put your dogs poo in a city garbage can and not someone’s DC supplied/private green garbage can. I have started bagging my garbage and leaving it for pick up on the corner instead of coming home from a day of work to find my green city supplied can with 3-4 bags of dog sh&t in it. Can’t leave it in there…so now I, a non-dog owner (but dog lover) is picking up after someone’s lazy a$$.

  • Why is it that when it snows dog owners suddenly think the rules don’t apply to them? The number of off leash dogs I saw in RCP was stunning. Some well over 1/4 mile from their owners and out of sight. So many reasons why this is wrong! You are putting your dog and everyone else at risk. Dog owners please stop being irresponsible people.

    • During the storm I saw a lot of off leash dogs running in the road while cars tried to pass them, owners just hanging out nearby. People are dumb sometimes.

      • Yes!!! What was up with that? Snow does not suddenly mean you shouldn’t leash your dog. My dogs don’t like when other dogs come up to us so it was particularly stressful

    • People always let their dogs off leash in Rock Creek Park, snow or no snow. It’s the reason why I can’t bring my dog there, because she hates when other dogs run up to her.

      • It’s so annoying, I wish NPS would do more about this. It’s unfair to other people and dog owners, and dangerous to the dogs themselves who may be lost or hurt.

    • Ugh yes, this was driving me nuts all weekend. People in my condo building were letting their dogs run off leash in the parking lot (not fenced…) and I kept having to pick up our brand new rescue who is terrified of larger dogs while holding onto my other dog who is just excited to say hi.

    • to be fair, when it snows, it seems mostly everyone thinks the rules dont apply to them. many of these things, including dog poop, have been discussed ad nauseum over the past few days on this blog.

    • Tsar of Truxton

      Last time I checked, people are not supposed to walk down the middle of a street, but they do it when it snows. Do those people suddenly think the rules don’t apply to them?

      • Thanks anonymous MD driver. First of all it’s not illegal to walk in the street. Second, generally they are doing so only because the sidewalks are completely impassable – much the same as they would for any other sidewalk obstruction. Now stop brushing by those people driving 30mph..

        • Actually, it is illegal to walk in the street. See DCMR 18 § 2305.2. And, because PoP hasn’t argued about bike lanes for days, bikes lanes are part of the street, so it’s also illegal to walk in the bike lanes. 🙂

          • HaileUnlikely

            It is illegal to walk in the street where a sidewalk is present. In cases when a sidewalk exists but is impassible due to obstacles, I don’t think the law is adequately clear.

          • For the sake of arguing, I’ll posit that the sidewalk remains present, just harder to navigate than the street. However, I’d say my argument is stronger when the street has not been plowed leaving the sidewalk and street with the same amount of snow.

  • It’s the same people who will litter, yell at women and children for taking too long in a crosswalk, will shovel their snow into your space, won’t bother to shovel their sidewalks, cut you off in traffic, not let you merge into a lane in heavy traffic, and nearly mow down any cyclist that is in their way. Basically self entitled a holes that just dont care. Probably no one on this blog.

  • smrtcar

    I’ve seen a lot of lazy people just leave their bags anywhere. I’m talking about a LOT more bags than summertime. Lazy.

    • I’ve dropped a bag or two in the dark while wearing gloves, unfortunately I don’t notice until I go to switch hands or throw the now-gone bag away. not proud.

  • A thousand times this! The proliferation of unscooped poop in my neighborhood is embarrassing.

  • I have dogs in the neighborhood and pick the poop after they are done. HOWEVER, when almost a week after the snow, people still haven’t removed snow from the sidewalk in front of their house, I’m that close to actually leaving the dog poop there as a gift for the dbaggery

    • As a responsible dog owner who picks up my dog’s poop and sometimes other dog poop (why is other dog’s poop grosser than your own dog’s?) when I walk past a house with an unshoveled sidewalk I really just want to toss my pooh bag on their porch. But I don’t because I’m sure they will just throw it on the sidewalk…sigh.

  • Yes! What is with this? I don’t understand why people think just because it snows they don’t need to pick it up? Or, was this much poo always around but we just notice it more in the snow and narrow sidewalks (as opposed to in the grass where I many not notice it)

    • Look at the bright side – maybe smeared dog poop helps with traction on icy sidewalks.

    • I was actually about to post a comment to this affect. In my neighborhood anyway it seems that the number of a$$hats leaving dog excrement hasn’t increased since the snow, it’s just a lot more noticeable (though I have two dogs who I constantly have to pull away from unscooped poop so I notice it regardless of the weather- thanks jerks who don’t pick up).

  • Always feel free to ask a fellow dog owner for a spare baggie if you find yourself embarrassingly out of your stash. There’s no shame! We’ve all been there!

    • I had someone chase me down once to ask to borrow a baggie. I gladly obliged. Also this is DC so there is almost always a conveniently placed piece of litter you can use if you are caught bagless.

      • Or you could buy bags that attach to the leash, buy then in bulk so you don’t run out or come back with a bag if all else fails. Getting up dog poop is just too easy.

        • Yup- I do all of the above. The only potential problem is remembering to refill the baggie holder when you run out. I have forgotten a few times, but have always been able to locate a discarded plastic cup or Doritos bag that can be used in an emergency.

          • I don’t see much trash on my walks besides bottles which are not the best for the task at hand. Ha!

          • Yep, this. It’s the worst when you use the last bag and forget to refill. I’ve used a receipt from my wallet before which wasn’t the classiest.

          • Small dog I’m guessing?
            I’m all for being resourceful, but I’d rather come back than have an covered pile of poop in whatever trash I happened to find.

  • Why must so many people own dogs in this city? There is a ton of dog sh*t everywhere in my neighborhood. I assume much of the shit is from when there was more snow and it was easier for the owner to ignore it or just kick some snow to cover it. Animals are disgusting.

  • I would like to propose a new rule:

    IF a sidewalk has been shoveled, than the dog owner MUST pick up the dog poop and dispose of appropriately.

    However, where someone has FAILED to shovel their sidewalk after several days, feel free to deposit all dog poop there. Or on the doorstep of the associated home or business.

    • Hug me ! This is perfect

    • Yep!! The only time I havent picked up my dogs’ poop was this yesterday morning when they went in the lawn of a church that STILL hadn’t shoveled their sidewalks, which take up half of two blocks. It was out of the way so no worries that anyone will step on it. Just annoying to the church but they deserve it for being bad neighbors.

    • Because it’s likely some unsuspecting passerby who will get a shoe full of poop, and not the homeowner?
      (Although I can get behind the doorstep idea . . . )

  • I can’t believe it’s come to this… but here’s a copy of the email that I just sent to all the owners/tenants of my condo building – The Whitman on M St in Shaw…

    “Dog Owners – Please show some respect for yourselves and your neighbors and SCOOP YOUR POOP.
    Just because there is snow on the ground, you were not given a free pass to not clean up after your dog. As a dog owner myself, I’m disgusted to see the amount of poop in the snow piles along our walkway, which will soon be (and already is!) stepped on by passersby when the snow melts. And for the person who allowed their dog to poop just three feet outside our front door this morning, and you not pick it up… well, you should be ashamed of yourself!

    Also, in regards to our front entrance…. no one should allow their dog to pee on the building or anywhere remotely close to the front door. It’s disrespectful to everyone who lives here, and just plain gross.

    Sorry for my rant, but I reached a boiling point, and felt it needed to be said. – Lisa, the mother to Bruno the poodle”

  • There was a great post yesterday on the Cleveland Park List Serve about this:
    Good folks of Cleveland Park and surrounding neighborhoods, it is time
    we address an environmental problem that has been plaguing us for over
    48 hours now. This is a problem that we created from our own laziness
    and general apathy.

    During the blizzard, we buried our dogs’ poop in the snow instead of
    picking it up.

    I’ll admit it, I’m just to much to blame as you. I didn’t want to take
    my glove off to get the plastic bag out of the dispenser. I didn’t
    feel like having to bend over and have falling snow go down my exposed
    lower back. I know you felt the same way; however, now our children,
    shoes, living room carpets, and car interiors have to pay the price
    for our arrogance.

    Earlier this morning, I witnessed a child – an innocent angel – become
    victim to one of these improperly disposed land mines. As she
    scrambled around the yard collecting a face for her new frosty friend,
    she soon became horrified as his nose slowly squished under the
    delicate pressure of her young hands. Instead of being asked if she
    “wants to build a snowman?”, she should have been asked if she wanted
    to become a statistic.

    Yesterday, I heard the story of an elderly woman who, on her way to
    the Uptown to see a matinee of Star Wars (just as she did with her
    late husband, Harold, in 1977), rolled over a land mine as she was
    being wheeled to the box office. Unfortunately, she didn’t become
    aware until it was too late and spread the fallout to the inside of
    the Hebrew Home shuttle bus that picked her up. Now the whole dining
    hall has been contaminated. The force was not with her that day.

    Now some time has past and we can look back on our mistakes. Luckily,
    it’s not too late: we can correct them and turn the back the clock a
    few minutes. Please remember to pickup your dog’s poop, and if you
    have a kind heart, a stray land mine if you see it. There doesn’t need
    to be more victims. You can make a difference.

    God bless.

    Bob A.

    • This is great.

    • I’m Bob’s SO. The sidewalks around our building are coated in dog poop. There is dog poop pretty much everywhere you walk; people have been leaving it all over snowbanks, where it has begun rolling/running onto the sidewalk and street. Or, the owners let their dog(s) simply poop on the sidewalk, and assume that nature will do the rest. Conveniently, we have discovered the poop only after our dog has stepped in it and tracked it onto our carpet.

      Simple law of physics, folks: Snow melts. Shit doesn’t.

      • Perhaps this comment should be directed at Bob?
        “During the blizzard, we buried our dogs’ poop in the snow instead of
        picking it up.
        I’ll admit it, I’m just to much to blame as you. I didn’t want to take
        my glove off to get the plastic bag out of the dispenser. I didn’t
        feel like having to bend over and have falling snow go down my exposed
        lower back.”

        • A problem easily solved by a longer coat & getting the bag ready before leaving the house.

        • DCD: Royal “we”. His point that we didn’t WANT to do those things, but we did them all the same. As the person who walked our dog the majority of the time during the blizzard, I can say that our dog’s poop was safely wrapped in a plastic bag, each and every time she went outside.

          Anon: Agreed! So why don’t people do those things? But also, it’s an unfortunate but major part of pet-ownership. Even if you just own a goldfish, you’re responsible for cleaning up the poop.

  • As a dog owner, I cannot understand people who just leave the poop. It is a major problem along the stretch of Irving between 16th and 14th where we live. I once found myself without a bag on a late night walk with no one around and I still went back to my apartment to get a bag and go get the poop. I also cannot understand why so many people feel that since the trash cans are full they should just drop it beside the can. Why can’t you take it home and throw it away?

    And the number of people who stand under the awning of the front entrance to our building and let their dogs pee and poop right in front of the doors – COME ON. You got a dog knowing full well you would have to walk it during rain, snow, sun – whatever. Be a responsible and decent human being.

  • Ditto on dog owners thinking all rules are off because of the snow. I got bitten by an off-leash dog while xc skiing across Lincoln Park (which is a hot spot for dogs running off leash anyway). When I expressed my anger with the situation I was informed by the owners that it was a good dog and they were so surprised Lil’ Poopsie could have bitten anyone.

    I love dogs, but I’ve had enough of their negligent owners… From now on I’m going to call the park police tipline (202) 610-8737 every time I see this happen and report the dogs and the owners. I’m not expecting a lot of action but maybe NPS will get tired of listening to my voicemails and at least put up a sign.

    • I own dogs and support this 100%. So sorry to hear this happened to you, what awful people.

    • Man, I got bumrushed and chomped by a nasty off-leash dog while out walking mine the other day. I have never felt the man’s-best-friend vibe more than when my tiny pup cross-checked the attacker into a snowdrift and barked in its face until it scrambled away. Good boy!

  • justinbc

    Wade Blasingame is gonna be raking in the dough after this week’s pile up!

  • Another reinforcement of my personal philosophy – dogs are great, it’s people that suck

    • I hate to speak in broad strokes, but most dog owners in DC – at least those in the close-in urban neighborhoods I’ve lived in – are absolutely terrible. Among my friend group of early 30s and late 20s singles, all the people who own dogs are the people who should NEVER own a dog – irresponsible, generally selfish, love to go off jet setting and always trying to pawn the pets off to other people to watch for 10 days, lots of work travel, tiny apartments with HUGE dogs, etc. I guarantee these are the same people who let their dog shit in the snow because they can’t be bothered to take off their glove.
      Living in DC and seeing all the miserable dogs cooped up in 600 square foot hovels has made me loath most dog owners.

      • “600 square foot hovels” ? Wow. Like how much space does a dog (and their person) need?

        • I wouldn’t call them hovels, but larger dogs who need more exercise (i.e. huskies, retrievers, etc.) can become aggressive if they don’t get enough exercise. I personally wouldn’t go so far as to say “don’t have one in a small apartment,” but I sure hope anyone who has one in a small apartment is taking them on long walks or runs daily.

          • Larger spaces don’t guarantee more meaningful exercise, sop I don’t get the logic. If you never walk your dog, they’ll get aggressive or bored in a larger place too.

          • Right but I would argue that it’s easier to exercise/play with a dog indoors in a larger space than in a smaller one where there is little room to maneuver. Thus my comment that I would hope people in smaller spaces would be able to take their dogs out for better exercise. Perhaps I wasn’t clear.

          • Lots of people in McMansions have so much crap and oversized furniture everywhere that they don’t have much space for maneuvering either.

        • Size of living space doesn’t matter. Exercise matters

      • Plenty of valid points but a reasonably sized space is probably not why the dog is miserable. The owner likely isn’t giving them enough attention and playtime.
        The sort of person who can afford to travel but not board a dog is the sort I loath most.

        • I travel and I would never board my dog. My friends and I watch each others dogs, no one feels pawned-off upon

          • That’s only directed at ppl who are doing the pawn. Every other month they’re posting about need for boarding & offering nothing in return.
            Your scenario is still boarding akin to rover where it’s a home environment as opposed to a kennel.

          • hard to see how friends watching my dog is akin to rover
            I don’t pay them and they don’t pay me when I watch their dog

          • That’s great if you have a network like that and everyone shares the pet-sitting responsibilities evenly. My parents enjoy having my dogs around, so I don’t feel bad about using them as dogsitters provided it doesn’t interfere with any of their plans.
            But I generally agree with Anon Spock. I used to have a roommate that got free airline tickets through her consulting job, so she was jet setting all over the place. Then she decided to get a dog. A few weeks later she decided to take a weekend trip to Paris and wanted me to watch the dog because she was too cheap to board it. I said no, because I didn’t think I was home enough to give it enough attention, and also because the dog had a history of slipping out of her collar during walks. She was furious and didn’t speak to me for a month after that.
            She ended up talking a mutual friend, who wasn’t really a dog person and had no experience taking care of dogs, into doing it. Of course the dog escaped, and the poor guy was out searching for the dog day and night (and enduring my roommate’s wrath) until it was found a week later. Some people are just selfish and want to have it all.

      • Most dogs really don’t need much space to be happy as long as you walk them a few times a day to ensure they get physical activity. And actually, some large breeds–basset hounds, even gigantic great danes, for example–are surprisingly good apartment dogs. They’re very calm, low-energy, and don’t need a lot of physical activity.

      • “I hate to speak in broad strokes” then don’t

        • I wrote that on purpose, just to annoy you 🙂
          I still stand behind my assessment of the dog owning populace.

      • Yeah, the dogs in Animal Fix always look so miserable.

      • justinbc

        “friend group”
        I don’t think this word means what you think it means.

  • May I anonymously brag about my husband?

    Took our dog out and realized that we forgot a bag. He used a sheet of paper to pick it up, carried for a couple of snowy blocks to the next trash can. He got poop on his hands. I have never been more attracted to him.

    Some would say that “hero” might be too strong of a word but that shoe fits real good.

    • “He got poop on his hands. I have never been more attracted to him.”
      [Paris Hilton] That’s HAWT!

    • I actually forgot to grab a bag this morning (one of my dogs just got discharged from surgery last night so I had a lot on my mind). I ran back to the house to get one after they pooped but I could only find two out of the three piles when I returned. It’s definitely better to pick it up in the moment if you can find something to grab it with, but now the snow is covering most of the usual litter.

  • Clenchometer rating: 0 – “poop everywhere”

  • I am a born and raised Washingtonian. Since the influx of new homeowners in the Petworth with their pets, I cannot go outside any given day without something being in the tree box in front of my house. I have to tread lightly. I can’t cut the tree box unless I look for mounds. I have seen the dog poop in the snow in the tree box and on the side walk.

    When I first noticed it over three years ago, I made a complaint to all of the ANCs within Ward 4. I was told that even if signs were put out it would not mean dog walkers would abide. I see that to be true. I also, as a pet peeve to me, where the dog walkers allow their dogs to leave the sidewalks and wander as they walk into people yards. Many of us have retaining walls.

    In order for us all to get along: Respect boundaries, respect protocol, and respect the City.

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