Street Fouler Loses It — What Now?

08 Jun

Help! I live on a parkway with signs posted on either end to pick up after your dog. Today, while I was out washing my car, a regular offender walked by, letting both dogs leave a trail of doo doo. I am very unconfrontational, but I decided to address the situation. I said (very pleasantly) “Excuse me, but did you know you could be fined for not picking up after your dog?”

She kept walking, I said “Excuse me.” She started marching and I said, “Can you hear me?” Then she said, “I don’t have time for you.” I said “I don’t have time to clean up after your dogs.”

She started running away. I said, “How mature is that?” When she got far away, she started shrieking at the top of her lungs, didn’t understand a word she said but all I can think is, great! The first time I address this and I get a lunatic. Now I am worried she is nuts & may plan some sort of revenge and that I am stuck cleaning up after her dogs from now on. Any advice?

Friendly Reminder – Altadena, CA

Dear Friendly,

She was probably embarrassed when you told her to pick up after her dog and she didn’t handle it well. But believe me, she heard you. I once got a friendly reminder in my mailbox that said, “When we all keep our lawns mowed, it raises property values for everyone.” I was mortified, and for a few days, I wondered which one of my neighbors had left the note. But you knwo what? I kept my lawn mown, weeded, edged and the bushes trimmed after that. And now, it’s me looking at other lawns, thinking that the homeowners shouldn’t let them get so shaggy.

The point is that she may have handled the encounter badly, but she got the message. And since she has such a strong aversion to public reprimands, it’s unlikely that she continues to allow her dogs to foul the public areas (she’ll probably change her route and you won’t even see her again). But if she does, call your police department non-emergency line and ask them what the best way to proceed is. If she has a regular routine, tell them what time of day she normally walks her dog in your area, and describe her and her dog. The police normally have more important things to do than chase pickup law violators, but if it’s a slow day, they may send a car over. Or you could tell her she’s been reported (whether she has or not). That might put some sticking power on your point of view.

As far as retribution goes, I wouldn’t worry. Of course, if she threatens you or follows you or harasses you in any way, it would be a good idea to have a complaint on record with the police department in case she accelerates things.  Meanwhile, don’t feel bad about dealing nicely with things like this that affect the rest of us. We need social sanctions for unacceptable behavior because so some people simply don’t learn good manners at home. This is why clusters of giggling teenagers who race up and down the aisles and talk on their phones in the back movie theaters continue to disturb other patrons during movies. If more people would confront them, they wouldn’t do it. You were right to remind this woman (nicely) to pick up after her dog.

Got a question about dog etiquette? Send it here.


Posted by on June 8, 2007 in Dog Etiquette


7 responses to “Street Fouler Loses It — What Now?

  1. Pappy's Fella

    June 8, 2007 at 4:04 pm

    There’s no great way to handle these situations, and there are no politic words that are going to overcome screaming poop lady’s defensiveness. I think Friendly at least imbued SPL with some awareness that it affects other people, and she’ll probably come around. Unless, of course, she’s as crazy as a poophouse rat.

  2. caring for your dog

    September 21, 2007 at 1:48 am

    i think you did right by asking the lady to remove the dog poo. By the way the lady behaved it is unlikely she would ever pass your way again

  3. Karen

    November 22, 2007 at 2:43 pm

    I have similar desires to avoid confrontations. Lately, though, I’ve started to occasionally say it like it is. But I also use tact and friendly overtures at times. It all depends on the situation. If this lady is a repeat offender, I think I would have followed her down the street yelling ” What did you say? I didn’t hear that” I’d keep running to let her know she wouldn’t get a way with it too easily. Maybe she’d avoid your lawn after that. LOL It’s crazy how some people act, isn’t it?

  4. Marjorie

    April 30, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    Friendly Reminder wasn’t unlucky in getting “a lunatic” the first time confronting someone like this. I suggest only lunatics (or borderline-losers…to use the ‘technical’ term…)(giggity) would see their animals defecating, and leave it behind.

    As a dog owner, as much as it infuriates me, it baffles me.

    I have never…no…not once…seen my dog defecate and not picked it up. I have trained my dogs to eliminate on-command (which is of exceptional benefit when travelling), and they do so on my property BEFORE we embark on a walk. Sure, there isn’t a whole lot I can do about an urgent need to urinate while on a walk (if I have a bottle of water with me, I will use it to dilute the urine), but at least I would never permit it to occur on someone’s private property…at least not without their permission. If my dog does look like she’s about to eliminate, I ensure it happens on an easement, or even in the street, if necessary. Feces are picked-up right away, if not caught on the way down. (Yes, not only do I do this, but I think everyone who can, should! It means no amount of feces touches the ground!!)

    I can’t imagine allowing a dog to soil someone else’s yard. I don’t allow my dogs to soil any public space that is used for play or sports, such as soccer fields, school yards, or playgrounds. I even counsel dog owners to avoid putting their “poop bags” in bins near any area where humans gather, such as next to picnic tables or bus shelters. It’s just not right!

    And yet, day after day, I walk my dog in parks and nature trails, and see piles and piles of dog feces, presumably left by dogs out with their owners. (I’ve never seen a truly stray dog here. Maybe once or twice a year I might see an errant dog who’s temporarily escaped its owner’s control.)

    I do, sometimes, pick-up some of that poo. But for a number of practical reasons, I can’t do that all the time. It shouldn’t have to be that the price for not scrupulously watching each step closely, is a shoe tread full of feces…or worse!

    Don’t these scofflaw owners see the feces each day, as they walk their dogs in that same area? I mean, what kind of filthy creature do you have to be to see a pile of feces and know your dog left it there yesterday, and not do anything about it. In fact, you leave yet another pile of feces behind!?!

    I have come to believe there is something mentally wrong with people who don’t pick-up their dogs’ feces.

    Not too long ago, I met a woman (via her dog being illegally off-leash, and running into my yard). Just writing that, I should’ve known better. But, at the time, she seemed very nice, and we appeared to have a lot in common. She was a bit newer to the area than I was, so I agreed to guide her through the complicated off-leash trail system at a local conservation area, a few days later.

    Only 5 minutes into our walk, her dog went about six feet off the “trail” (it was all open grassland at that point, and not as though something magical happens on either side of the trail), and began defecating. She didn’t budge. I was waiting for the inevitable reach for a poop bag, and walk over to the area. …The way experienced, responsible owners can do that without even thinking about it….never missing a beat in the conversation. (It’s perfunctory.) But she just stood there. I moved, just in case there was any chance she couldn’t see her dog was defecating. Still no response. So I asked, “Do you need a poop bag?”

    I can only describe her reaction as a whole-body eye roll. I believe she started to make some comment about it being “off the trail” or some such lame excuse. (I don’t think if it was on a cliff edge. If I let my dog poop there, I’d go clean it up!) I handed her one of my bags, and then tossed it towards the trail entrance, to be picked up on our way out. (I usually don’t do that myself, since the only times I have, I’ve forgotten to retrieve the bags. But, in this case, we’d just begun a long walk on the trails, and I didn’t want to create a negative association for her with being responsible, and suffering-through with smelly poop bag for the rest of the walk. I recognize you have to bring people along gently, sometimes.)

    That pretty much set the tone for the rest of the walk, though. I’d wanted to like this woman, but how could anyone ignore such a basic, social responsibility? Seriously… Leaving feces behind? What do these people think happens? It magically disappears, and no one will step in it? We know how gross it is to step in dog feces, ourselves. But is it any better if a dog steps in it, and tracks the feces into the owner’s car or home, on its paws?

    I think I’ve heard just about every excuse in the book, ranging from picking-up feces being “too disgusting” to the fabricated claim that the feces of raw fed/home-cooked fed/qualty brand fed dogs will breakdown and “disappear” in a matter of a few days. It just ain’t true.

    I suppose, if nothing else, I’d like to add my name to the list of dog owners who are disgusted when other dog owners leave their dogs’ feces behind. I usually catch my dog’s feces before it hits the ground. That way, my lawn is pristine. I can freely walk around in bare feet, without the worry what might be there (or remnants of what was there). But even taking this much care to keep my lawn poop-free, I can still come across piles left by negligently-owned dogs and cats.

    I will just never understand how anyone could be that disgusting. I sure am glad I don’t have to go to these peoples’ homes! It must be a nightmare!!

  5. German Rottweiler breeders

    August 18, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    Yea, I think that’s very immature of the lady to just start running away….

    Vom Bullenfeld German Rottweilers

  6. Michael Huddleston

    February 8, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    I have felt too embarrassed and annoyed to ask my neighbor to stop using my lawn as her puppies potty spot. It’s so uncomfortable and yet, I think some dog owners just dont give a damn.


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