Thursday, August 25, 2011

THE SCOOP ON POOP: Dog walking etiquette in Columbia, Missouri

Neighbors weigh in on a crappy situation
 
An errant dog walker on this writer's street, letting his canine poop on grass and flower beds then insisting it wasn't a problem, prompted a question to Old Southwest listserv members: 
 
What is the etiquette on dog walking, especially around private property?  I haven't owned a dog in years, but when I did, mom always taught me to keep Daisy (she was a poodle/spaniel mix) out of people's yards, especially during poop time.  Has this etiquette changed and if so, how?  Even if you don't own a dog, what do you think?
 
Answers were abundant. 
 
"It is required, as far as I'm concerned, that you pick up after your dog," Tony wrote.  "I like to display my poop bag prominently, so there's no question of my intention to take my precious' offerings with me when I leave.  When we see a turd left behind in our yard by a dog walker, my wife's (true story) response is:  'you can take it home in a bag, or wear it on the back of your head!'   Then we hand them a bag."
 
It is illegal to let your dog poop without a scoop.
 
"As a veterinarian, I have to say that poop can contaminate yards with intestinal parasites that can get into the soil, other dogs, and human feet," Nicole informed the group.  "Whipworms are particularly difficult to remove from the environment, and can cause life-threatening disease.  Roundworms or Ascarids can be transmitted to people and to other pets.   Parvovirus is shed in the poop for a long time, and can contaminate the soil and transmit this fatal disease to other dogs."   
 
Karen referred us to a city ordinance that both Michael and Randy elaborated.   It is illegal to let your dog poop without a scoop, they explained. 
 
Pooper Scooper Ordinance
 
From the ordinance:  "If your dog leaves droppings on public property or on private property where the animal does not reside, the owner is responsible for cleaning up the mess and disposing of it in a sanitary manner.  It is recommended that the dog owner carry plastic bags for this purpose when taking their pets for walks away from their own property.  If a citizen sees a pet owner violating the ordinance, that person may call Animal Control at 573-449-1888 and file a complaint.  The owner can be issued a summons for violation of the ordinance if a complaining witness is available." 
 
"I believe the ordinance is essential for 'turds' like this guy with no respect for his fellow neighbors," Robert wrote. 
"It is totally annoying when people leave their dog's poo in my yard," Val wrote.  "I will be more vigilant about always having a bag handy." 

As for the errant dog walker, the response was universal:  get 'em! 

"In my yard, I would offer to crack him in the knees with a baseball bat," Randy wrote. 
 
"People are not educated about these things or just don't think about them," Nicole said.  "They don't put animal feces in their compost, why leave it in someone's garden or yard?"
 
"For the poopy walker, you can try the hose," Robert wrote.  "If he doesn't abide by common decency, fling a turd at him!   Just remember, it's not the dog's fault, so aim for the guy at the tall end of the leash."
 
And finally, this philosophical note from Val:  "Neighbors... ya gotta love 'em!"

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