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Latest health and behavior news and advice from the veterinarians at Tufts University.

News & Views March 2018 Issue

Poop Happens, But Perhaps Will No Longer Linger in This Condo’s Backyard

 

The 147 homes and penthouses of Scarlett Place Condominiums on Baltimore’s Inner Harbor offer fabulous views, 24-hour front desk staff, a pool, fitness center, and rents for a two-bedroom unit climbing to nearly $3,000 a month. What they don’t want to be offering any longer are grounds dotted with dog waste. The condo board is serious enough about the infractions that it is considering replacing surveillance cameras with DNA tests.

That’s right. At least one member of the board has proposed that all resident dogs and all dogs visiting the condo complex have their cheeks swabbed for DNA analysis so that un-picked up doggie doo can be sent to a lab and matched to the correct culprit. If the proposal goes through, any errant owner caught free-handed — that is, not “holding the bag” — would face a $500 fine.

It may sound snooty and over the top, but we believe picking up after your dog should be the strict order of the day no matter how fancy or modest the surroundings. It’s not just because poop is unattractive, smelly, and hard to wipe off if you step in it by accident. It’s not good for the environment when left around on the grass and other spots.

Consider that it contains harmful bacteria and other pathogens that can make you (and other animals) sick. And it contaminates vulnerable environments like waterways and areas of land near water, threatening the health of area birds and other wildlife along with woodlands and other green areas. Dog waste left unattended throws into the environment everything from giardia to Salmonella and E. coli. Furthermore, once it gets pushed into harbors, lakes, and bays during heavy rains, its nitrogen depletes the water of oxygen that fish, like land species, need to breathe.

That’s why for social, ecological, and personal health reasons, everyone who has a dog should pick up their pet’s droppings — every single time, no matter how distasteful it may seem and no matter what the weather. We realize it can be a pain if there are no trash cans nearby and you have to carry the “evidence” somewhere. But that’s a small price to pay for the joy of having a dog in your life.

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