By Phillip Snyder, Executive Director
Published in the Englewood Sun on March 24, 2013
Someone said that picking up dog poop is like changing diapers. We only agree to take care of our own kids. In other words, no one appreciates picking up poop that has been left in the yard by someone else’s dog. Believe me, I have two dogs totaling 290 pounds and that is as much poop as I can handle.
The American Veterinary Medical Association estimates that there are 80 million dogs in the USA. Imagine what a business selling pooper scoopers could be. But then there are a lot of people that do not believe that everyone is facing their responsibility.
Actually there are very important reasons why we all should pick up after our dogs. They include avoiding contamination, spread of disease and odor control. And what about just being a responsible pet owner and a good neighbor?
It really is not an expensive chore at all. Although you can buy quality made poop bags pretty inexpensively, grocery sacks and bread wrappers work quite well, especially with smaller dogs. . Just put your hand inside the bag, cover the pile, pick it up, turn the bag inside out, tie it and dispose of it. Carrying some disinfectant hand wipes may be a good idea just in case.
Dogs like mine require a scoop shovel, a claw rake and a garbage can. They work great unless someone you know happens to drive by. I have found it difficult to wave with the shovel in the left hand without tossing the contents of the shovel over my left shoulder. That usually requires the extra effort of picking it up again.
Stepping in a mess left by someone else’s dog, or your own for that matter, is a real mood changer. Flat souled shoes are bad enough, but have you ever had to clean it off the bottom of rigid souled sneakers?
We are not up north where winters force many dog owners to wait until spring and then hold a gigantic poop- scoop- a- thon. That can sometimes be a two day event. It does however; seem that some people living here in southwest Florida still operate with that same theory, even without the snow. Sadly, if this describes your neighbors, grilling out can be about as delightful as picnicking next to a hog farm.
Failure to pick up after your dog is a serious problem, and it is a people problem. This includes your own yard, the property of others, and even at a doggie exercise park. In fact, the top complaint voiced at Suncoast Humane Society from frequenters of Charlotte County’s Doggie Park, is owner’s failure to pick up after their dogs. It takes just a few irresponsible dog owners to ruin it for the many responsible people trying to give their dogs some quality fun time.
After all, we shouldn’t blame our dogs for doing what they have to do. It is the nature of dogs to keep their immediate area clean, especially if they have a very small yard. If allowed they will choose their favorite potty stations in someone else’s yard. It is our responsibility not to let them.
Be proud to be seen picking up after your dog. Just don’t raise the shovel to high when you wave at a passer-by. It is all part of being a responsible pet owner as well as being a good neighbor.