Lifestyles 10/12/01

Victory -- or is it just a cease-fire? -- declared in the dog poop war

By Matthew Flitton

This column is about poop. Today I'd like to discuss a fecal matter. It's an unfortunate subject, but one that needs to be dealt with.

I live in a neighborhood with many dogs. Neighborhoods with many dogs leave a virtual minefield on the lawns of anyone who is not hypervigilant. Most dogs who leave gifts in my yard get the idea after being chased off once or twice (or receiving a free shower in the middle of their act).

In the apartments across the street from my home lived a family with four dogs. When it came time to relieve themselves, the dogs would head straight for the lawns of my neighbors and myself.

I'm not obsessive about my lawn. Anyone on my street will testify to that. However, I have two children who don't understand that certain substances shouldn't be picked up, or worse, eaten.

Trying to talk with the dogs did me no good, but it made slightly more impact than trying to communicate with the owner. When I would go over to their house and knock, only the dogs would come to the door, and they knew why I was there. If I stood there long enough, a teen-age girl would come to the door, where I would try to encourage her to keep a shovel and a leash handy.

Eventually, a surly father would come out to find out what my problem was.

After I called the pound, these dogs would be leashed during the day, but the furry fecal fabrication units still slipped across the road for a quick visit whenever possible. The owners always insisted the entire neighborhood needed glasses. Their dogs couldn't possibly be the culprits. One man kept a loaded paintball gun, determined to mark the dog marking his lawn as sort of a russet letter.

This went on for months. Chronic dog waste can cause insanity. It obviously does, because that is the only explanation for my eventual solution to the problem. I decided that I don't care if dogs poop on my lawn as long as the owners clean up after it. If the owner won't come over to my property to take care of the mess, I'll help him.

The next time I found dog doo in my yard, I picked it up with a shovel. I crossed the street, and tossed it -- onto the porch.

That was the last time their dogs visited my lawn.

If you have a dog, please keep it under control. I don't want poop on my lawn any more than you want it on your doorstep.



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