Whole Dog Journal's Blog August 3, 2015

Who Doesn't Scoop Poop?

Posted at 10:37AM - Comments: (28)

It's very difficult for those of us who always scoop our dogs’ poop to understand those who don’t. I honestly have never heard anyone defend their habit of looking the other way (and then walking the other way!) when their dog defecates somewhere he or she shouldn’t – such as on a public sidewalk, on someone else’s lawn, or outside of a hotel – and I really just can’t imagine what such a person is thinking when they do this.


That said, anyone can be caught without a bag or scooper at some random time. I myself have been guilty of walking my dogs a short distance in my neighborhood without a bag with me after I saw them poop in my own backyard – and then being surprised that one of them still had a little more poop to offer (so to speak) on the walk.

But when I’m caught without a bag, I’ll do anything to find something to pick up the poop. My first tactic is to look for trash – a floating plastic bag, a fast-food wrapper, a soft-drink cup – that I can use. The kind of free advertising newspapers that tend to linger in driveways are good for this purpose. Lacking any of these things, I’ve dumped out coffee I was drinking and used the paper cup to scoop and carry! I’ve also left a leash on the ground near the poop, kept walking until I’ve found something to use, and gone back to where I left the leash to complete my dog-owner responsibilities.

But apparently people do walk away from their dogs’ poop without a second thought! Enough of them do so, in fact, that from time to time we see media reports of another town or neighborhood, or most recently, a large condominium complex, who has engaged the services of a company that can match the DNA in abandoned poop with its canine pooper! The latest was a report in the New York Times about a complex with about 440 condos, counting some 175 dogs among its inhabitants, that recently required all of its residents to register their dogs and submit DNA samples for enrollment in such a poop identification program. 

I have to ask: WHO DOES THIS? And why?




Comments (28)

I've been a dog walker for about 3 year and walk several dogs a day along with my dog. I always pickup after each dog no matter where they go. For a couple of the dogs that I walk that are know to have loose stools I alway carry a large coffee filter (filter use #158) to put under the dog when they start to hunch over. I can catch it all in the filter and it is easy to pickup. I have had homeowner see me do this and give me a thumbs up for keeping their yard clean.
I have walked some dogs in an apartment complex that did not do the DNA testing but they had poop bag stations through out the area. I would see dog poop close by the station and was not picked up. One of the appartment complex that I do have a customer at does have the DNA testing (with a large fine if poop is found and tested) and the appartment grounds are very clean.
I am also on the Board of Directors of a Dog Park in our city. It is a membership based park with an annual fee. The city does not fund the park in any way. During registration we do take a DNA swab for poop control. The Park is 2 3/4 acres large with an 8 foot fence around the whole park. It is possible for a dog to be running and take a dump before you catch up to them. Our members are great at picking up stray poops to keep the park clean. The members look out after each other. If someone has 2 or more dogs it is hard to keep up with them.
I beleive in picking up after our dogs and keeping our neighborhoods clean.

Posted by: waverider71 | August 13, 2015 11:23 PM    Report this comment

As the human race is deteriorating into some goop , animal husbandry is getting better for those that are connected.

Owning a pet does not mean a person can do what ever they want to it.

My dogs prefer to use about one acer of land for their bathroom area. We live in a very rural area and have lots of land. One of our problems my wife and I disagree on how much wild life should the dogs harvest. I train then to bring their kills home so I can cook them for them to eat. They do not harvest any 4 D meat. That natural instinct does tell connected people that 4 D meat does not belong in pet food. T he only exception is if your pets are bottom feeders and maggots. Even if you are willing to do the chores of having a pet in a small space you need to consider is that ok for that species.
Please stay connected.

Posted by: bow wow | August 10, 2015 7:13 AM    Report this comment

I agree with Saizen | August 7,
I truly dislike having to pick up poop and then put it in a plastic bag. Environmentally reprehensible. Although I DO pick up when we walk on paved paths and streets or in public parks.
But then have to go through the yukky process of getting the poop OUT of the plastic bag and empty it on the ground (for the dung beetles to process) then put the now disgusting plastic bag inside anther plastic bag to be able to put in in the household garbage.
We use 'pooper scoopers' at home to keep the yard clean and tidy ad either dispose of the poop in the leaf litter under the trees or in the septic tank or otherwise in the council greed waste bin.

Posted by: Jenny H | August 7, 2015 7:34 PM    Report this comment

I think it's disgusting that people are too lazy and so selfish to not pick up after their dogs! It's so rude and irresponsible of people to leave a mess for others to step in! I also find it ridiculous that cat owners allow their cats to roam the streets and poop in my yard and garden! Why is it allowed? Cats should be kept indoors, according to our vet! They live longer and it's safer for them to indoor animals. I am disgusted with people who allow their cats to poop in my yard and garden. Also, my dogs think it's a tasty treat! Yuck! Sadly, we live in a world where there are a lot of selfish, lazy, and inconsiderate people!

Posted by: I love my dogs | August 7, 2015 5:46 PM    Report this comment

I do scoop poop in public places because I don't want people to step in it or for dogs to be unwelcome in those area - in fact, I will often pick-up poops from other dogs BUT I often don't scoop poop in rural or wilder environments because I have a REAL aversion to putting something organic in something plastic. Even the biodegradable bags don't actually degrade very quickly. And, every other creature is pooping our there (including me) without having the poop contained so why with dogs? I don't get that.

Posted by: Saizen | August 7, 2015 11:49 AM    Report this comment

The ones that mystify me are those who carry a bag, scoop up the poop, tie the bag shut, then leave it on the ground! In my old neighborhood a guy with a Dalmatian did this every day. Just nuts... Its like a person going to the loo then not flushing!

I agree with those who feel the people who don't pick-up just cant be bothered and don't realize how their selfishness reflects on all dog owners.

Posted by: ClscFlm7 | August 7, 2015 11:37 AM    Report this comment

And yes, if I have room in the bag after picking up my dog's poop and there is some stray poop nearby, I'll pick it up as well. I'll pick up offensive poop wherever it is if I have enough bags and free hands.

Posted by: curlyh2odogs | August 7, 2015 11:24 AM    Report this comment

Hints: Carry a little LED flashlight for night walks. Extra bags. Fluff the bags before you go for a walk. Water bottle will wash down residue or liquid stool accidents. Paper towels, a couple, folded up. Corn based cat litter in a sandwich baggie for liquid stool, to solidify for pickup. All will fit in a sport type waist pack. Encourage dogs to go on dirt or leaves for easier removal. If no bags, yes, go back later. On trail hikes, I've been known to conceal the bag so I can pick it up on the way back to dump in the parking lot trash can. Or, double bag it.

Offenders: Old people who can't stoop, kids who don't want to, (the ee-yoo factor) dog walkers of multiple dogs where one dog is doing the walking poop as the other 4 or 5 are being hustled along, (and these are often "professional" dog walkers, grr) and yes, stealth poopers in the cover of darkness or early a.m. hours.

Posted by: curlyh2odogs | August 7, 2015 11:21 AM    Report this comment

I know there are a number of older people in my neighborhood that don't pick up because it is too hard to bend over. After helping up one of my neighbors who face planted in my front yard, I told him to not worry if his dog goes in my yard, I would rather clean up after his dog, then have to figure out if my home owners insurance was going to pay for his fall. Of course, now on his daily walks he does a bee line for my yard, but, that is life.

Posted by: Mandy | August 7, 2015 11:06 AM    Report this comment

This really gets to me, too. I live in a neighborhood where everyone has backyards, most of them fenced. But people still walk their dogs (of course). The problem is 2 people on my street actually walk up into my yard, close to my house, and stand IN my yard to let their dogs do their business! I don't get it. It's one thing if the dog goes by the street and they pick it up, but to walk up into my yard on purpose and stand there and wait for the dog to go???

Posted by: pugloverrr | August 7, 2015 10:25 AM    Report this comment

I saw a guy on the beach the other day with his dog who pooped in the water (why do dogs love to do this?) He had no bag, just his "chuckit" which he used to fling the poo further in the water. He then continued to use the chuckit to toss the ball for the dog. Nice one, dude.

Posted by: JeanF | August 6, 2015 8:46 PM    Report this comment

I recently heard of a book on the topic of environmentally responsible pet poop disposal; I won't mention its title, in case it is not available through the Whole Dog Journal network, but it sounds like interesting reading.
Un-cleaned-up dog poop is an aggravating problem in my neighborhood, the same as many commentators have described (I pick up after my two and after the the less-diligent neighbors). But I would like to point out that the residents of the United States come from vastly different cultural backgrounds. In many impoverished parts of the world, HUMANS relieve themselves in fairly public places due to the lack of any organized sanitation facilities. Moving here, getting used to the idea that we have indoor toilets where waste can be flushed away must involve a steep learning curve. Incorporating the behavior of picking up after a dog with a plastic bag is probably asking quite a bit of some newly arrived residents. Similarly, people who are homeless, wondering where they will sleep tonight, where their next meal is coming from or where THEY THEMSELVES will be able to next use a toilet, probably have other matters occupying their minds than the necessity to pick up their dog's poop.
Yeah, I realize most of our lazy neighbors don't fall into these categories; I'm just throwing out some food for thought.
Keep "doo-ing" the right thing, everyone!

Posted by: Kris B-W | August 6, 2015 5:09 PM    Report this comment

I actually put pooper bag under my dobermans ' butt......may look funny & friends were joking at an Obedience match......this alone should earn my boy UDX....v b g........ May look funny...but no one can complain !

Posted by: Dillonsmom | August 6, 2015 7:09 AM    Report this comment

I actually put pooper bag under my dobermans ' butt......may look funny & friends were joking at an Obedience match......this alone should earn my boy UDX....v b g........ May look funny...but no one can complain !

Posted by: Dillonsmom | August 6, 2015 7:07 AM    Report this comment

There are bags that are not only biodegradable but are compostable. So you can pick up after your dog without any guilt about adding a bigger load to the environment. There is no excuse for leaving feces for others to step in.

Posted by: Irish77 | August 4, 2015 3:37 PM    Report this comment

The same people who don't scoop poop are the same people who don't spay and neuter their pets and toss stuff out of their car window or drop garbage on the ground while they are walking. They just don't see the big picture that responsible behavior makes life better for everyone.

Posted by: Olivia | August 4, 2015 3:19 PM    Report this comment

I think many people just don't like to pick up poop so, if no one sees them, they figure they don't have to. Don't even get me started on the poop IN THE CENTER OF THE SIDEWALK. This makes me so crazy that I hoped my community would start DNA identification. It never occurred to me that people would be so determined to continue leaving poop that they would borrow other dogs.

Posted by: Alice R. | August 4, 2015 2:29 PM    Report this comment

I completely agree that we ALL should be conscientious and pick up our dogs' poop. But putting something biodegradable into a non-degradable plastic bag makes no sense. I use compostable bags, but most people don't want to spend extra money when there are so many free plastic bags entering out lives. We need to find better environmental solutions - I just don't know what they are.

In Japan, Haruka Maruno who was 12 years old, came up with the idea of using a milk carton after she had to pick up dung with her hands while walking her dog, Patrick. With her hands!!!

"Haruka's Paperscoop" got a special award at a local exhibition of inventions.
Her pooper-scooper is Earth-friendly so when it's thrown away, it breaks down into dirt instead of taking up space in a landfill.

Nice idea! But we need ideas that will work in our society.

Posted by: RadicalSparks | August 4, 2015 2:04 PM    Report this comment

I think that in the 21st century, they--however "they" are exactly--need to make a more efficient system for cleaning up dog poop. Once you sound it out, personally picking up your dog's poop with a bag and then having to hold onto it until you find a trash can seems a little old-fashioned. I think we could do better. I don't know how exactly, but surely we won't be doing this 100 or 1000 years from now.

Posted by: teddjpb | August 4, 2015 12:08 PM    Report this comment

I tie a baggie to the leash handle, so I'm always prepared. But still, sometimes even THAT doesn't work and you can get caught short.

Has anyone else noted filled bags of poop lying by the walkway? I used to think whoever it was would pick it up on the return (that is, didn't want to carry it for the whole walk) but then I started seeing this more and more often and that the same bags were left behind!

I honestly don't get it!

Beyond the yuck factor, it makes ALL dog owners look bad to the non-dog owning public.

Posted by: Carolyn M | August 4, 2015 11:19 AM    Report this comment

One day I observed a neighbor allowing her dog to relieve himself on my front lawn. When I suggested that she pick up the poop, she retorted " I don't pick up poop"
She was a municipal judge who walked her dog everyday. After observing the same behavior a number of times, I decided to take action. I made a copy of the municipal bylaw requiring that dog owners pick up after their dogs, picked up the poop that her dog dropped on my lawn one morning, put the poop in a plastic bag, and stapled it to the bylaw. I put the whole package in her mail box!!!
Lo and behold, some time later, I saw her carrying a poop bag and she waved at me with it and a great smile!!! Some time, material action is better than words!
Yvan, Gatineau, QC, Canada

Posted by: yvan | August 4, 2015 11:14 AM    Report this comment

I recently witnessed a dog squat in a public area and have very loose diarrhea. The owner was clearly mortified but could not pick up the watery mess and there wasn't water that could be used to wash it away. Fortunately, it was near the curb and not on the sidewalk. Any ideas on how I could have helped the owner?

Posted by: jblock50@gmail.com | August 4, 2015 11:05 AM    Report this comment

That's a great idea with the newspaper. Thanks. Now, I have to ask, does anyone pick up other people's dog's poop while you're out with your dog? I have two dogs. When I spot poop while walking, I will often pick it up, baggy resources allowing, as I don't want people thinking it was from my dogs. I have also marked unexpected poop with a stick, memorable rock, etc., then gone back to pick up after retrieving a bag.

Posted by: Phee | August 4, 2015 10:49 AM    Report this comment

In the city, if you wait around long enough, another dog walker will happen by and you can ask for a bag. If I see someone not picking up, I'll ask if they need a bag. Also, I've found the flashlight app on my phone very helpful for "finding" the golden nuggets!

Posted by: liz1 | August 4, 2015 9:52 AM    Report this comment

This sounds crazy, but a few years back I heard on NPR,This American Life, a story of an apartment or condo complex that decided to have all pet owners get their dogs DNA swabbed due to the problem of so many not picking up poop. People actually would "borrow" the dog of friends or acquaintances on "swab day". For example, if one owned a black lab, it was easy enough to substitute another black lab for the DNA sample so their dogs poop would not match up with the DNA on file.

Posted by: loucynda | August 4, 2015 9:48 AM    Report this comment

I almost always have bags with me, unless I used the last one and forgot to replace a new roll. On those times I also look for paper or something in a driveway or I go home, collect a bag, and then collect the poo. However I do have a battle with myself. A neighbor with two cats that are allowed to run free and who hunt wildlife and who seem to love my yard... What a foul disgusting pile of poop which, if I do not pick up, my Yorkie will! When Tinkerbelle uses their lawn to relieve herself, I am always tempted to just leave the poo, BUT, still I pick it up. I even thought about dropping the cat poop at their yard... I just so want them to enjoy the smell of processed wildlife! However, I guess I prefer to be the better neighbor and continue to just scoop 'n toss! LOL

Posted by: BootzB | August 4, 2015 9:45 AM    Report this comment

This is an absolute "pet" peeve of mine. I live in a city and I swear there are only a few of us on my street and the surrounding streets I walk that actually pick up our dog's poop. It DRIVES ME CRAZY, especially when it starts to get dark early and I am walking my dog. I have to bring a flashlight with me so I can make sure neither me nor my dog walks in the piles of poop all over the place.

I would like to know what makes people THINK that it is just fine and dandy to leave a pile of your animal's crap on the sidewalk or someone's lawn!!!

Posted by: Sportschick | August 4, 2015 9:39 AM    Report this comment

I am the same way about the poop !! LOL ! When I know my boy has runny yuckies ... I actually will bring newspaper with me on the walk and put it under his butt . No excuses for leaving poopies anywhere . I have run out of bags and walked back afterwards to clean it up ! It is really dog etiquette Rule #1

Posted by: RobinJ | August 4, 2015 9:29 AM    Report this comment

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