“I’d like to let them know that eventually they’ll be caught on camera, publicly shamed and dealt with by the law enforcement”

poop free

“Dear PoPville,

Throughout the summer our lovely home at Girard and 13th NW has been targeted by irresponsible dog owners who let/ lead their pets to defecate on the lawn in front of the property. I find and have to clean dog poop at various times throughout the week, ranging from 7 am to 7 pm. It’s just sad that someone would continuously abuse another person’s property like this and disregard both common courtesy and public health. If by any chance the person(s) responsible are reading this, I’d like to let them know that eventually they’ll be caught on camera, publicly shamed and dealt with by the law enforcement. I also wonder if others in the neighborhood have dealt with anything like this.”

Ed. Note: I wonder if the OP has been targeted or if there are just some incredible lazy/inconsiderate dog walkers who use this route?

79 Comment

  • Agree with PoP’s editor’s note.

  • While I understand this is frustrating for the OP, I hardly think this is the best use of MPD resources in the blocks surrounding this location.

  • “Targeted”? Really? I’m sorry that you have to pick up after lazy dog owners (not sure why you felt the need to tell us what your daily hours of clean-up are…that seems irrelevant); that would frustrate me too, but your post is a little over the top.

    • Follow-up. It’s much more likely that the dogs can pick of the smells of previous dogs that have been there, and similarly feel the desire to mark it as their territory as compared to numerous individuals targeting your property.

      • Yeah, unless people are dropping it there or they have a dog they’ve trained to poop on command, I don’t really see how someone could be targeted in this kind of situation? Maybe the owner is more likely to walk on their side of the street, but the actual elimination seems pretty up to fate…

    • I dunno, I’m guessing this isn’t the first time OP has made frenzied public threats of prosecution for mundane annoyances. If the neighbors are as disproportionately vengeful as OP is, then maybe? I’ve only seen such things on the Simpsons: “Do your dirty sinful business….”

      As for possible charges, MAYBE vandalism? I can’t imagine MPD care about dog poop enough to step in. I’d much prefer they concentrate on cutting down shootings and armed robberies in the neighborhood.

      I join the chorus recommending a fence.

  • They probably know how much this irks OP.

  • Not trying to “blame the victim” here…..but fences are probably a more useful answer for everyone’s time and energy, including your own.

    • I was going to ask whether the OP had a fence, and if not, recommend that he/she get one.
      It sucks that inconsiderate dog walkers and/or someone purposely trying to bother the OP are doing this… but if they’re so rude/inconsiderate/vengeful as to do this, a physical barrier (possibly in conjunction with a camera, in case they open the front gate to get in) might be the most effective way to stop them.
      Fences are expensive and require permits, so in the meantime (or just to test the idea out), the OP might want to look into the tallest possible height of “garden border fencing” — the kind that usually comes in single panels or packs of panels, is enameled in white, black, or dark green, and has stakes to anchor it in the ground.

      • I forgot to mention… garden border fencing (in various heights and with various levels of scrolling/decoration) can be found at a place like Home Depot or Lowe’s.
        I don’t understand why so many people are jumping on the OP. If dog poop was appearing in my yard on a regular basis, I’d be mad too.

        • Because without more information OP is also jumping on the situation by claiming that they are being “targeted” by dog owners.

          • Maybe, but I think it’s a lesser offense for the OP to assume (perhaps wrongly) that someone is “targeting” his/her yard than for so many posters responding to be so dismissive of the OP. Aren’t we (collectively) better than that?
            Even if the OP is exaggerating/indulging in hyperbole/whatever, I think PoPvillagers could do better than to basically ridicule him/her and accuse him/her of pearl-clutching.

    • Build a big, beautiful wall imo. Get neighborhood dog owners to pay for it.

  • I can’t my dogs to do their business in my own yard sometimes, I certainly couldn’t get them to do it on command each and every time we pass by your house.

  • Have you ever stopped to consider that it might be your neighborhood feral cats and not the neighbor’s dogs? The feral cats in my neighborhood love to poop in my garden and all over the front an year yard.

    • gah, the alley cats in my neighborhood have started pooping on my front porch. Like right in front of the door. We know why, our house cat likes to stand guard and fight them through the front window, but it is still crazy annoying. For what it is worth, I now hate floor to ceiling windows due to this.

    • As someone who has a cat and a dog, I doubt you’d have trouble telling the difference in the poop.

  • I would guess it’s just inconsiderate people who don’t bother to clean up after themselves. Consider fencing in the yard? Seems a lot more effective than threats.

  • For our resident MPD officers, or any AUSA or member of the DC AG’s office – what would the charges be?

    • It is a civil offense under 24 DCMR 900. So unless an officer witnesses it, he or she cannot do anything about it. There aren’t any warrants for civil offenses, nor would MPD be spending our time trying to get one. Even if an officer does witness it, the officer can’t require that the individual provide identification for the non-traffic civil offense, so the compliance rate with non-traffic civil offenses (littering, and, before legalization, possession of an ounce or less of marijuana) is about 25%. It is simply not effective. I would echo the recommendation for a small garden fence or perhaps dense or thorny plants.

  • Perhaps a roll of bags or a homemade pet waste station in the corner of the yard or in the nearest tree box? Probably not the most attractive, but if its going to happen anyway…

    • Nah, that will just encourage the pooping rather than stopping it. And dog poop bag stations tend to become suppliers to cheapos, in my experience. There are just some people who believe they are too good to pick up their own dog’s poop. As a dog owner myself, it really annoys me as I’m most likely to be in the same places, and have a higher chance of stepping in it. And to let your dog poop on somebody’s lawn is just crappy. Heh.

  • make an online complaint and request a sign from DOEE: http://doee.dc.gov/petwaste.

  • Uhhhhh I lived in Columbia Heights for years…good luck “shaming” the people that do this…they have no shame. Also, be prepared if you confront them in person, I had my share of physical threats from some of these people. I just gave up sadly.

  • Sorry OP, I’m not with you on this one. The other commenter is right that said that unfortunately the dogs might just be smelling that the other dogs have been there before them, and going for that reason. Additionally, if you want dogs to not go on your lawn, you really need a fence. Dogs wander a bit and while I’m not going to leave the sidewalk and enter property myself, and while I’m also not going to let the dogs I walk destroy flowers or property, if they want to wander 2 feet onto lawns (thank god I never pass your corner lol) for two seconds I’m going to let them do that. I will – always, without fail – pick up any poop, and I will – always, without fail – make sure we pass by without a trace. But the way that you can show that you don’t want people even two feet onto your lawn is just getting a small fence. Doesn’t have to be costly or crazy intrusive, plenty of those tiny fences prevent dogs from wandering onto lawns on walks.

    Stop overreacting, buck up and realize this is totally within your power to fix in a way that doesn’t require whining publicly on a neighborhood blog. Especially odd that you were willing to give out your street corner and an image of the sign that presumably will identify your house, I certainly would not want childish behavior like this connected to me publicly.

    • I guess I did not read the word “targeted” to mean “intentionally” or “purposefully” here. I just thought the OP was saying it seems to happen a lot or that owners take advantage of easy access to grass there, not that they are making it personal to OP.

      Beyond that word, I also didn’t think OP’s reaction to this was unreasonable. There is a law in DC that requires that you pick up after your dog. What is wrong with asking people to obey the law and rules of decency really? I honestly cannot imagine taking my dog into someone’s yard, letting it poop, and then not bothering to pick it up. But somehow comments here think the OP is childish or unreasonable?

      • I agree. I have a dog in the city and walk him everywhere and it’s just not that hard to avoid effing up people’s lawns and being a considerate neighbor. We (dog owners) also have absolutely no entitlement to walk onto someone else’s property. None at all. I get it; there are very few grassy areas left in DC, but that doesn’t mean that every non-fenced yard is open season. We need to be considerate.

  • Bro, build a damn fence. You’re in the city, which means dealing with asshat pet owners who don’t have the luxury of private outdoor and not leaving your “nice things” open to the public. This same sh#t (no pun intended) happens in every other urban area.

  • OP- I used to live one block over and was angry at dog owners for the longest time…. I finally figure out it was actually cats pooping in the yard. Feral cats as well as indoor/outdoor. I’ve also seen some large dog poop (too large to be cats!) in that area, but certainly not every day or in one spot.
    So unless you have reason to believe you are being targeted, you may not be.

  • I’m not sure why people live in the city when this is how they feel. This is just part of owning property here – unless you’re literally getting bags of flaming poop on your doorstep, tons and tons and tons of poop on your lawn every day without fail, or unless you see someone giving you the finger while praising their dog for pointing on your lawn you really don’t have a leg to stand on. Especially if you don’t have a fence. I’ve picked up more garbage than I want to acknowledge that’s blown onto the stoop in front of our house, I’ve picked up random litter on the streets and sometimes i find other people’s trash in my garbage can. That’s literally just living in a city, there are other people around you and sometimes they do things that annoy you, but unless they’re targeting you specifically I don’t think there’s much cause for grievance.

    Don’t turn into the woman that started screaming at me because my dog pooped 3 inches from the sidewalk and then even though I picked it up I was “ruining the city” because my dog “ruined the expensive plants and gardening with her poop.” Lady, she didn’t ruin anything. She pooped on grass and it’s all gone now, you can check if you want…

    • Pooping* on your lawn not pointing

    • If there’s litter in your yard, it probably blew there. If there’s dog feces in your yard, it’s because someone left it there. That’s the difference for me. I pick up garbage all over my neighborhood but I don’t pick up random dog shit. Do you?
      But hang on another second. If abandoned dog shit isn’t a reason for grievance, why do you pick up *your* dog’s shit?

  • Build a fence, then you can move along to another outrage.

  • Isn’t there something you could spray on the lawn to deter animals. I know some folks in areas will use wolf urine to keep away deer, as an example. i never asked how they got the wolf urine…

  • On the bright side, at least it isn’t human poop.

  • It is a bit annoying that you can’t keep your dog on the sidewalk and now its my responsibility to install a fence. I deal with this same problem and can never figure out why dog people don’t let their dogs crap in their own front lawn. If you don’t have a yard then don’t have a dog in the city. It’s not my fault. I don’t care if you are picking up the dog poop. I don’t want my kids to have to play in poop covered grass. We don’t own a dog and we don’t like your dog.

    • Even if the dog owners do not have their own grassy front yard, they can find public spots for dog pooping. I don’t have a grassy front yard and I just walk my dog down the street to a public patch of grass. My dog poops. I bag it like a decent human being who was raised with some idea of manners and throw it away in a public or my own trash can.

      Pet ownership is not hard. You can have a dog and not make your dog someone else’s problem.

      • yes, but you’re assuming more people actually care about other people and would do the same as you. They don’t, and they won’t.

    • Then dont live in the city and get a big yard in the suburbs if you want pristine grass. also do you realize that wild animals also poop on your grass including birds, squirrels, and depending on where you live maybe even deer? so your children’s cleanliness is a poor excuse.
      you have also obviously never owned a dog and probably had zero interaction with one – you cant make a dog go to the bathroom on command. so no you cant always get your dog to go in its own yard. however i do suggest that you spend some time with a dog, hopefully it might calm you down.

      • Yes, you can make a dog go to the bathroom on command, but even easier is steering to a sidewalk grass patch rather than a yard. Jay obviously sounds insane, but the expectation that dog owners find somewhere other than his yard for a dog potty isn’t one of them.
        11yr dog owner here

        • Tsar of Truxton

          Technically, his front yard is probably public property, so I am not sure there is technically anything wrong with people walking their dogs in front yards. That said, I agree that it is discourteous (especially if not picking up after said dog) and would never personally do it. I also agree that it is easy to control where your dog goes to the bathroom if you train the dog properly.

          • “Technically, his front yard is probably public property, so I am not sure there is technically anything wrong with people walking their dogs in front yards.” IIRC, the front yard technically belongs to the city ONLY in the original L’Enfant city boundaries (south of Florida Avenue.)
            And even if it technically does belong to the city, the property owner is still responsible for maintaining it. It’s a d*ck move to allow one’s dog to walk into someone else’s yard, just like it’s a d*ck move to throw one’s own dog’s poop into someone else’s trash can.

          • “IRC, the front yard technically belongs to the city ONLY in the original L’Enfant city boundaries (south of Florida Avenue.)”
            You may have heard this somewhere but it is not true. The city technically owns my front yard and I am well north of Florida Avenue, in Petworth.

          • Interesting. My understanding is that it’s by no means true for all of D.C., though. And the location of the property line is no justification for bad dog-walking behavior.

  • I doubt OP is being targeted, but as a dog owner I do think that is incredibly inconsiderate. I personally don’t let me dog walk in other people’s yards let alone let them poop in them and then not even bother to clean it up.

    • +1. My dog eats other dogs’ poops and I curse each and every mystery dog owner who doesn’t pick up. 13th between Columbia and Girard can be especially poop-laden. (Fuller between 16th and 17th is also pretty bad these days)

      • Ugh…the worst! While my dog doesn’t eat the poop, she likes to put her nose right in it and in one particularly awful case I ended up having to wipe her off with leaves and then bathe her when we got home. I very much agree dog owners who do not clean up after their pet are awful.

    • Amen. I went to google maps and took a street view look at the yard in question (easy to identify as it is the only one on that corner without a fence). I can see why people would use that spot for letting their dogs poop. I cannot see how anyone does that and walks away without picking up the poop. That is really shameful.

      I’m guessing technically the yard in question is actually city property, as is the case with many homes in DC where the city owns up to a certain distance from the street. So the OP would need a permit to fence it, I’m guessing. But they should absolutely fence it to solve this problem. And no, because it is technically city property doesn’t mean anyone should let their dog poop there and leave it. It’s absolutely the law and comments shaming the OP for complaining about this is asinine.

      • +1 to “It’s absolutely the law and comments shaming the OP for complaining about this is asinine.”
        IIRC, homeowners need a permit to put up a fence no matter where the property line is (i.e., regardless of whether the fence location is technically city property).
        Well done to TCircler for looking on Google Maps. That makes sense — unfortunately, if everyone else has a fence and the OP doesn’t, the OP will bear the brunt of inconsiderate people who don’t pick up their dogs’ poop.

        • Looking at it on Google Maps, yeah, I realize that I walk my dog by there all the time. And she likes to poop there. And I ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS pick it up. Even on the very rare occasions I’ve forgotten a bag, I’ll go to the trash can to get something that will do the job or use some leaves or whatever. Dog-haters, is that a problem too? Or is it just the folks who don’t pick it up? (Who I loathe too. Nothing quite as awesome as stepping in poop while you’re picking up different poop.) Incidentally, the city has just posted a TON of signs in the neighborhood with the fines for not cleaning up after your dog.

      • Yeah, but if you and I are looking at the same yard, people really have to trespass to get on it, no? It’s kind of on a slope there. And it seems there are plenty of grassy areas between the sidewalk and the curb. This is just selfish behavior and there’s no reason to trespass or violate dog poop laws. That said, it’s difficult to legislate jackass behavior. One thing the OP might consider is requesting a trash can on their corner. It doesn’t seem to be there now, and it just might help.

  • Uh, dude, are you new to the Earth? This is how at least 50% of the world just is – they don’t give a crap for one reason or another. I understand being annoyed, grossed out, whatever, but this just seems so ridiculously overwrought. Put up a fence or move. Or clean up after other people. Or store up the piles of sh!t that terrible dog-owners leave behind, and then whip them at the heads of those you see breaking the law. I don’t know what you realistically expect to happen here, the police aren’t going after bad dog owners.

    • You’re very, very wrong in one important respect. Here, they DO give a crap. That’s the problem.

      • Sorry, to be clear, I was referring to the 50% of the pet-owning population who will let their dog sh*t in your yard and mosey on along because they don’t care. Although they are literally giving their crap to you, the yard-owner.

  • I actually did have 2 MPD Officers knock on my door a few years ago for something similar. A bush on our block my dog was doing his business at I guess I didn’t see it all and a neighbor called them. I always pick up everything but clearly missed a little bit. The two officers were literally trying to keep it together for the first 30 seconds. Trying to explain the law and then when one of the just lost it cracking up the three of us just had the best laugh ever!

  • motion sensor water sprinkler, is that a thing?

    • Yes, definitely a thing. My brother has one for the deer. If it weren’t so hysterical, I’d feel bad for the poor deer. Even though the have eaten every green sprig in his yard for years.

  • I saw a dog poop in front of my house and followed the dog and owner as they walked into the Wonderland patio and asked the owner if s/he needed a bag. I had some sense that this could result in an unpleasant exchange, but the owner surprised me by accepting the offer without argument and followed me to the spot, took the bag I offered, and picked up the poop.

    • That is really aggressive behavior on your part Lakeisleinnisfree. I don’t have a dog and don’t leave poo around, but if anyone followed me and approached me like that, I’d be more than a bit concerned. I understand your frustration 100% . But I would think it would just escalate the tension by actually following / confronting. I think it would seem more normal if you just confronted on the spot. Were you expecting or hoping for more of a fight?
      Anyway, I don’t mean to attack you because the pooper was in the wrong, just don’t think your behavior was appropriate either. (unless you live right next door to Wonderland patio?)

      • Purely hypothetical of course, but what navyard is describing can actually be done in a way that is not threatening and not confrontational, without appearing to be looking for a fight. It’s not often seen because a) people in this town tend to “get things done” through escalation rather than persuasion, and b) you don’t notice it because it doesn’t make a scene.

  • My husband saw a dog crap in our yard before the owner walked away without cleaning. He ran outside and confronted them, yelling at the top of his lungs. There hasn’t been much poop since.

    • …that’s incredibly ill advised

    • My husband did this for a different offense (not dog poop). The offensive behavior went from happening nearly every day to maybe once or twice over the next year!

      Ill advised, maybe. But if people like us were more willing to call people out (though maybe not all out screaming the way our husbands did), I think the neighborhoods would be a better place.

  • On the Hill East FB page (and maybe the listserv) one of the residents posts footage from his security camera of dog owners/walkers that pass by his place without cleaning up. In one case it turned out to be a dogwalker for a dogwalking service, which then resulted in a public apology by the owner of the service and the specific dogwalker. (I think it was public, either way, all of us on the listserv found out about it)

  • Given that I had my car broken into right in front of your lovely estate and lawn, and was able to give MPD the address of the thief because he was stupid…their result…”we knocked on the door and he didn’t answer so we’re gonna consider it case closed.”

    I really hope they don’t waste time and resources on your lawn given high priority issues in the area.. Everyone else has already said it ppl should be picking up their dogs poop, that said if you hate it so much build a fence.

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