It Had Been 312 Days Since Our Last Chicken Bones Lament

by Prince Of Petworth April 15, 2016 at 3:00 pm 71 Comments

chicen bones

“Dear PoPville,

What is with all the chicken bones on the streets of DC? Recently a 7-Eleven and a pizza place that sells wings opened up by my house. The result is a daily accumulation of chicken bones on the side walks. It is disgusting, my dog tries to eat them, I am sure the rats are getting after them too.

I personally think that we should ban the sale of chicken wings “to-go”. However, I am sure that will not be a popular move even among PoPville readers. Does anyone have any good ideas on how to discourage the sidewalk consumption of chicken wings?”

  • jes

    My dog does this. It’s gotten even worse in Navy Yard now that the Buffalo Wild Wings is open. Unfortunately, I don’t know what could possibly be done other than maybe increasing the number of public outdoor trash cans (or emptying them more frequently, especially during long Nationals homestands). A straight up ban would never pass (and I wouldn’t even support it, since I sometimes get chicken wings to go, lol).

  • Angry Parakeet

    Good thing to ban. If I had a dog I would be rabid.

  • Yes really

    It’s the rats that get into the trash :) not the to go wings… Call rat abatement!

  • It’s not the chicken bones that are the problem, it’s the people tossing them on the ground.

    • bruno

      Chicken bones don’t kill dogs. People kill dogs. :^0

    • textdoc

      I was about to post something like this. People eating on the sidewalk isn’t the problem; it’s the sidewalk disposal of the bones (or wrappers, or bottles, or whatever) that’s the problem.
      I’d love to see some serious enforcement of the litter laws, but I doubt that’s going to happen anytime soon. :(
      I would really like to see D.C. introduce a deposit requirement for glass bottles, aluminum cans, and (if possible) plastic bottles. Obviously that wouldn’t address the chicken-bones problem, but I think it would significantly reduce D.C.’s litter problem.
      Increasing the number public outdoor trash cans certainly won’t solve the problem completely, but I think it would lessen it.

      • textdoc

        number *of

      • jes

        I lived in Michigan for a while, and while I understand the environmental reasoning behind the can/bottle deposit, it was enough of a pain in the ass to return them in an auto-centric environment. People trying to live a car-free lifestyle (something the district seems to be encouraging) aren’t going to respond well to dragging giant bags of bottles and cans to the grocery store.

        From the perspective of the stores, a deposit program doesn’t really fit within the small footprints of a lot of our grocery stores. Trying to retrofit all of them with the apparatus to do this would be a huge expense, one that I’m certain the District would have to help cover.

        • textdoc

          D.C. has a serious litter problem, though, and I’m really not sure what can be done to address it other than a deposit program. (And MASSIVE education in the schools and a better PR campaign for adults.)
          Couldn’t people return bottles individually for a deposit? That wouldn’t be too logistically challenging, given that they’re walking around drinking the items (usually) near where they purchased them.
          I see plastic bags flying around much more rarely now that we have the 5-cent bag tax. If people were given an incentive not to litter, I think it would really help.

          • jes

            I definitely agree on the litter problem; however, a deposit would only help with bottles and cans. I see far more chicken bones, chip bags, fast food trash, and other shit on our streets than I do cans and bottles. But, my neighborhood might just be different from others in that regard.

          • textdoc

            Jes, I see a lot of food wrappers, drink containers, etc. too (though curiously I hardly ever see chicken bones)… but I see enough bottles and cans in the treebox, in the gutter, etc. that I think a deposit program would make an impact. And I’m desperate for ANYTHING that would reduce the litter in D.C.

        • Ben

          No – but plenty of homeless people in the area would find it more enterprising.

          Also to say a deposit program doesn’t fit the small footprint of most stores is also pretty off base. Most third world countries do this quite well in even the smallest of stores. DC has third world roads – might as well follow-suit and do a deposit program!

          • jes


        • JY

          On Long Island you can take your cans, bottles, etc to a grocery store and they have machines. You pop the bottle(s) in and you get a receipt that you can use at said grocery store to get $$$ off your order.

  • I lament them daily.

  • Sean

    I used to live near 11th and U st, and I can tell you that the number of public trash cans won’t make a different. I’ve watched people sit at bus stops eating wings and throw them on the sidewalk despite there being a trash can six feet away. I’ve also watched people walk down W street and throw wings in the grass as they finish each one. Again, this is while they are passing a trash can on each corner. When I’ve confronted people about it, I’ve gotten either a “F#*k you!” or a “shut the f#*k up and mind your business.”

  • Pixie

    It’s bad around the 7-11 in Takoma. There are multiple trash cans all around 7-11, the nearby metro station, and bus bays, and yet there are always chicken bones and pizza crusts on the sidewalk that my dog will always get to before I can stop her. One time I saw a driver pull over, throw a container of half eaten chicken wings out of the passenger side window onto the sidewalk, and drive away. WTF people.

    • Dognonymous

      For all its great aspects, DC has the most impressively entrenched DGAF culture I’ve seen anywhere. Garbage people doin’ garbage things when the rational option is right there.

    • beth

      Mt. Pleasant’s 7-11, too.

  • DJFinance

    Must be Rant Friday. I literally can’t EVEN with the chicken wings (when I lived in Columbia Heights) and the dumping of rugs, mattresses, particle-board bookcases (earlier post) or the “FREE” sidewalk junk (when I lived in Mt. Pleasant). WTH people?

  • nico heights

    This isnt a problem with chicken wings. It is a problem of littering (smokers being some of the worse offenders).

    • samanda_bynes

      it is literring, but this time is specifically wings. leave ya smoking hangup at the door.

      • TJ

        Chicken wings and cigarette butts belong in the trash, not on the street. There is no hangup in thinking smokers shouldn’t litter.

        • textdoc


      • e

        I see far more cigarette butts than chicken wings on the ground. When you’ve solved that chronic littering problem with many smokers, then come back and comment.

  • Sydney P

    If you really want to help, recycle the bones by tossing them inside the entrances to city parks, school playgrounds, and ball fields. Your good deed will help educate the bad pet owners who ignore the “No Dogs” signs.

    • CapitalDame

      I don’t like irresponsible pet owners either, but advocating for harming someones pet is messed up. Also, I don’t think city parks have a full blown
      no dogs” rule. There are sections that say “no dogs” but there isn’t a blanket policy on “no dogs” in city parks?

      • Sydney P

        Do you want your kids, or summer interns, playing on fields suffused with what those dogs are set loose to produce? Yes, there are prominent “No Dogs” signs at entrances to public school playgrounds and ball fields. Since common sense won’t prevail with clueless pet owners. NPS parks I’m not sure about.

        • TJ

          There likely are more biological hazards in chicken bones tossed in parks than any dog waste.

        • Mamasan

          Chicken bones can splinter in a dog’s system, potentially causing extreme pain, internal bleeding, and possible death. You may want to reexamine what you’re saying here. As a responsible, picks up the poop every single time dog owner, I avoid places where my dog is not wanted, and I understand your frustration with those who are jackasses, but wishing a painful injury/death on the dog is a pretty crappy (pun intended) thing to say.

        • Timebomb

          I can’t think of any DC or federal parks with blanket “no dogs” rules. Some DC parks have dog parks within them, so you’d have to take the dogs through part of the park to get them there.

          I’m responsible about dog poop, but I would make a hobby of collecting it and spreading it on Sydney P’s lawn if I knew where they lived.

    • flieswithhoney

      So, a feast for rats and feral cats?

  • CapitalDame

    Ughh I swear they are embedded in the soil where I live. The best thing you can do is work on “Leave it” if you have a dog.

  • houseintherear

    I kick them into the street when I pass them, at the very least.

    When the DCWater tunnel project started, a friend told me she passed one of the workers throwing his chicken bones all over the place along the sidewalk and street one day. She asked basically what the hell, and he said he was feeding the birds. She was like, um birds don’t eat birds you dumbass. SHAKE MY DAMN HEAD.

    • AMDCer

      Well, some birds eat birds (hawks, falcons, etc.), but they certainly don’t eat the bones of birds!

      • Q

        But they pick the bones clean! One of the more jarring things I’ve seen is a pigeon eating a chicken wing.

    • Some guy had just finished throwing hamburger buns on the sidewalk in Columbia Heights when my dog and I walked by.
      I hope he enjoyed the rare sighting of the lesser known aviary species and one of the few flightless birds left, the Rottador Retrieveweiler. It can consume half a bun in one gulp.

      • BRP


    • YJ

      Birds absolutely eat birds. I’ve seen plenty of birds consume the remnants of chicken wings. They are ruthless.

    • anon

      I saw a sparrow – a sparrow! – on the street the other day pecking at the remains of a chicken wing. My neighbors have now confirmed that I am insane after I started yelling, “Stop doing that, you’re a herbivore for god’s sake.”


    Lol I once saw a guy standing on 14th street eating wings about 2 feet from a public trash can. As he finished each wing he flug it this way or that, sometimes into traffic, sometimes on the sidewalk, occassionally into the yard he was standing near. I also saw someone toss a chicken bone down the Columbia Heights Metro entrance while passing by a trash can. Takeaway: Chicken bones are to DC as leaves are to trees. So relax about it and try to have a laugh when you see this happening.

    • Hukiyoyo

      This just made me snort at my desk! LOL

    • Caroline

      So, when my dog finds one and scarfs it before I can see it and tell him to “leave it,” and the sharp broken bits puncture his esophagus, I’ll try to remember that I’m supposed to have a sense of humor about it while hoping I can get him to emergency surgery in time to save his life.

      • BRP

        yeah. this.

  • I Dont Get It

    I live near 14th St and there is no chicken bone problem. However, the mounting piles of broken small plates on sidewalks is becoming a dangerous issue.

    • textdoc

      Actual LOL!

  • MeMe

    When I liven in New York, it was always pizza crust that my dog would pick up off the sidewalk. In DC its chicken bones. I wonder what left over foods dogs find in other cities…

    • jes

      In the south, there’s sometimes a fair number of rib bones laying around. Seen that around here too, though not nearly as prominent as chicken bones.

      • Josh

        Pizza crusts and rib bones are both safer for dogs. I’d take the ribs any time.

  • flieswithhoney

    Honestly, practicing drop it and leave it commands with your dog is probably the only solution.

  • LS

    I’m constantly on the lookout while walking the dog. I wonder if there were no littering signs w/ chicken bone icons posted along w/ fines–similar to the ones for picking up after dogs–I don’t know whether it would really help but the threat of a fine can’t hurt. I’m seriously about ready to design the sign because the problem is so bad around the Potomac Ave area of Capitol Hill. We already had to rush the dog to the vet one evening because she got a shard stuck in her mouth.

    • jes

      I really do wonder if some people don’t even consider it a form of litter. Technically bones are biodegradable, so some people might not even realize that they’re throwing garbage on the ground. However, I suspect that that’s a small minority and that most are just selfish pricks who don’t give enough of a shit about others to walk 5 feet to the trash can. And if that’s the case, a sign probably isn’t going to do shit unless it’s coupled with actual police officers writing actual tickets.

    • Anon

      We used to live in the vicinity of Potomac Gardens (never again) and overheard denizens of that complex on multiple occasions say that it was okay to throw trash on the ground because someone else was going to be paid to pick it up.

      • textdoc


  • bruno

    I see a Popeye’s chicken pop-up ad on the right-hand sidebar…..

  • Bones are not a joke

    It wasn’t a chicken bone, but my beloved dog died after he swallowed a fish bone and it punctured his esophagus. It was awful, and an incredibly painful way to die. I hope no other dog (or dog owner) has to go through that.

    • textdoc

      I’m so sorry. :(

  • Anonymous

    I’ve lived in many metropolitan areas and DC has THE WORST litter problem of any city I’ve in… I’ve seen people throw entire meals out of their cars, stuff garbage down storm drains and throw personal bags of garbage on the sidewalk. Some people have no respect.

  • Juno Griffin

    What I love is when someone eats chicken wings next to me on the bus and throws the bones on the floor. Yes, the floor of the bus…
    We live a half a block from Popeye’s and the chicken wings are out of control. I’ve fished many a slimy bone out of my dog’s mouth. She has a good “Leave it”, but she often finds them before I do. I’m amazed she hasn’t gotten sick.

  • stacksp

    I could really go for some wings and mumbo sauce from the Hamilton right about now. Starving….

  • northeazy

    You’re all wrong. I too used to think it was from the Washingtonians’ insatiable desire for fried chicken combined with entitlement culture of having others clean up after you. But no. In actuality, DC is plagued with feral nocturnal chickens that spontaneously combust. Hence the fried skin and bone remnants as the only evidence of their nebulous and cryptic existence. I implore all PoPville readers to keep their camera phones at the ready as they roam the streets in the late hours to catch one of these feral, spontaneously combustible, chickens in the act and post it here to finally get the city council’s attention.

    • Hoss

      Cringe-inducingly unfunny comment. Stop.

  • No wings to go is a no-va idea

    What kind of fiend would actually promote the idea of banning wings to go? Wings to go is part of the Amer-I-can way of life, & I refuse to live in a place that calls itself a democracy if there are no wings to effen go. I am however, gonna put my wing bones where they effen belong – in the trash.

    Analogy: We don’t like when pet owners neglect to pick up their pets’ poop, so we ban pets. Fail.

    • stacksp


  • J

    When I lived in eckington. My dog would go after the used condoms as well.
    I love living in Brookland

  • Glen

    Wow, look at all that meat left still on the bone!

  • Brentwood, DC

    I would love it if more places quit serving wings, in favor of chicken tenders (“what part of the chicken does the tender come from?”), we’d still have the wrappers/packaging litter, but it would be a step. (And it’s so much easier to convince my dog to leave packaging as opposed to actual food bits. That said, she’s a champ at the command “Gimmie!” as I stick my hand in her mouth to get the chicken wing/pizza crust/sandwich/etc. Still, prefer going for a walk and not getting drool all over my hands.)

    • tke98

      I understand your plight. But chicken tenders are usually white meat and more heavily breaded than wings. I am not in favor of ending the sale of wings, just in favor of DC enforcing it’s anti-litter laws. That is seriously an untapped stream of revenue. My 14.5 year old dog is almost completely deaf so verbal commands get me nowhere when we occasionally happen along bones in the street. But she knows the deal after years of me scolding her for eating in the street. And she is usually pretty quick to drop the larger bone. The smaller ones means I’m going fishing in her mouth.

  • Roger Dorn

    Seriously. They are all over the damn place in Shaw thanks to that 7-11 at 7th and Rhode Island. Not only is it disgusting but I always have to be on constant alert walking my dog. If some people just had a little respect at all for others this wouldn’t be a problem but beyond handing out littering tickets to someone seen doing it, I’m not sure what we can do. as there’s approximately zero chance of DC banning cooked chicken wings to go.

  • MPLady

    It’s important to put pressure on the establishments selling the items, preferably through your local ANC and perhaps council members.

  • reality

    Chicken bones and sunflower seeds are always on the floors of metro cars too. So grosssssss.


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