Monday, October 19, 2009

It's Not OK. It's Poop. Scoop it!

Roughly 6 out of 7 days, I enjoy a nice power-walk up the nearby Hollywood Hills. My Runyon Canyon. I can walk to it, and I love it. It's a beautiful city park, mostly wild, not a lot of pavement, home to snakes and, I'm sure, more than a few coyotes. It is also an off-leash dog park, which I love, even though I don't have a dog. I get to see dogs of all shapes and breeds and sizes, and all of them are just happy to be out and walking and not one of them ever bothers me. They make me smile.

Dogs are great. I love dogs. What I do not love is their people. Not all of them... just those who feel they do NOT need to scoop the poop. What gives?? It's poop. It's gross. I don't want to smell it. I don't want to look at it. And, let us not forget, it is actually the LAW to pick it up. So why? Why the complete and total lack of compliance? Just because I have the audacity to want to walk where dogs also walk, that means I have to be the one who avoids the doggie-bombs?

"So what? We're outside." Yes we are. We ALL are. I'm here too. And I am not here to look at/smell your dog's excrement. I'm here to get some fresh air and exercise. YOU chose to have a dog. Part of having a dog is picking up the poop. You knew it pooped when you got it. "Outside", contrary to being a reason to leave it, is actually a reason to scoop it. It's poop. We are not that far from the ocean. So much poop was not meant to wash into the eco-system. And do you really want to think about swimming in poop run-off when you're at the beach? Um, ick.

But back to the more immediate issue: it's poop. Is there a reason you think it is OK to leave it lying there in a pile for all to see/smell/step in? "It's natural. It's biodegradable." So's my poop. You don't see me leaving a crap by the side of the trail. Is it really that much more acceptable to have dog poop there instead of human poop? (If you say yes to that, you have to show your work, BTW.) Yes, yes, it's biodegradable, but in the time it takes it to biodegrade, it attracts flies and puts off a lot of smelliness. This is not OK. It is unsightly, it is unsanitary, it is unhealthy. Above all, it is unnecessary.

I go back to an earlier point: you knew the dog produced crap when you got it. You know that when you take it for its walk, it is going to poop. You know it's the law. (You'd better, there are signs EVERYWHERE.) It is your responsibility, not only as a dog person but as a fellow human to the rest of us, to scoop that poop. There is absolutely no excuse to do otherwise. None. Nada. Nope. Nothing. Scoop it. Period.

Obviously, making it a law to "curb your dog" has no effect whatsoever. What's the answer? Can we shame people into cleaning up after their dogs? Unlikely. More vigilance? Hard to do. Personally, I dream of installing a doggie poop composting system at Runyon, because if even half of what is left is no longer left, it's an improvement. I fantasize of banning the irresponsible from having dogs at all. But that's just me. I tend to be extreme.

I have no solution. All I can do is try to catch people in the act, one at a time, and hope to make a tiny change.

Oh, and make sure to watch where I step.