Finally we have had some substantial rain to wash away the mess from 2013. Miller Ave and beyond, our entire town is littered with dog feces!! In an MV Patch post from way back in June of 2013 entitled Dog Poop Ecology, the author, Obligatory Obloquy, touches on a possible scenario that dog owners have no real intention of dealing with the poop. This bad habit by dog owners of leaving the dog poop behind is suggestive of a mindset that these people’s own sh#t doesn’t stink. Now I don’t believe ALL dog people do this. There are a few inconsiderate dog owners out there that are giving all dogs a bad name.
GGNRA wants to ban dogs from being off leash on selected federal lands. The city of San Francisco opposes the ban because of the fear that the ban will result in overuse of the city parks as dog owners look for alternate places to recreate with their pets. City or federal land, it has really come to a head in that dogs are negatively impacting the environment enough to affect people’s experience of these spaces. I love dogs AND I support this ban. It is unfortunate it has come to this. This measure is entirely a result of a handful of dog owners’ neglect in dealing with their pet’s messes. However, I don’t necessarily think the ban will cure the situation entirely. What we really need is poop patrol. Dog owners absolutely need to be accountable for their pets. Those few inconsiderate ones are not just littering garbage, they are littering feces.
Over the course of 2013 I have proudly strolled with my new baby up and down Miller Ave. and through our town. I have become outraged with dog owners and their laziness in cleaning up after their pets. In the June of 2013 article, Obligatory Obloquy suggests dog owners have a pathological disgust for their own dog’s excrement, which is the equivalent of disgust for feces in general. I have dealt with my fair share of poop in the last year having a new baby. No exaggeration, I have witnessed my little newborn poop at a great distance of 15 ft. shot over a railing and down a flight of stairs to land on the light switch next to the front door. Granted, gravity aided the great distance. Back to my point, if I left my kid’s dirty diapers on the sidewalk, people, dog owners included would be incensed and disgusted. Wrapped in a diaper my babe’s feces would be likened to all the little dog poop bags that litter our streets and the great trails of Mill Valley.
What’s with people not picking up after their dogs? They even act as if they will if front of witnesses by carrying the little obligatory bag roll on their dogs' leashes. One early morning, I observed a dog owner take a baggy out while the dog was doing his business. My baby in her stroller, me, and another man were the onlookers passing by. Once we passed, the owner and her dog acted as if nothing had happened and left the poo behind. Outrageous!!!! Dog people, you have a civil responsibility!!! Get over yourself!!!
I quizzed a dear friend of mine who recently became owner of a massive Saint Bernard x English Mastiff and whom also lives in a condominium complex. I asked him what he does with the dog’s poop when no one is around. Does he just leave it there like it’s not his problem? Does he think he doesn’t have to pick it up if no one saw the dog drop it? His very civilized response was,“of course I pick it up!!! “ Then he quoted the famous basketball coach John Wooden. “The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.”
So who are these people who think it ok to leave their dog’s feces on the street only to entangle my unsuspecting baby jogger wheels? Is it only a Miller Avenue problem? Are the apartment dwellers, the one’s without backyards, allowing their dogs to crap all over our sidewalks and in our parks? Is it a citywide Mill Valley problem? Are people so elitist around here that they don’t think their own dog’s s&#t doesn’t stink? No, this problem reaches far beyond Miller Ave. as substantiated by the proposed GGNRA off-leash ban.
Every day I see dog owner’s breaking rules. ALL dogs are required to be on leash in our public parks of Mill Valley. I’ve seen people let their dogs run wild in the playground areas with children, even in the sandbox. I don’t put my kid in the middle of the dog park for her to play. She doesn’t belong there. Dogs are not welcome in the playground. I don’t care that “oh, they love babies and that they wouldn’t hurt a fly or that my kid could poke the dog in the eye and the dog will take all the ear and tail pulling my kid can dish.” I’m not going to allow my child to do that and I would expect a dog owner to recognize that a playground is for kids not animals.
This may seem a bit extreme. Like I said, I do love dogs. I just loathe irresponsible pet owners. Adhering to leash laws would eliminate a lot of problems. Mainly dog poop would be much more trackable. Though this means nothing if a dog owner cannot see past his own aversion to crap. I have to believe it will take a group effort to hold pet owners accountable. I have witnessed some positive group influence at Boyle Park were one dog owner informed another distracted dog owner that his dog had crapped. She courteously dropped a baggy on the steaming pile. He became almost downright indignant as to say, if he didn’t see it, it didn’t happen, certainly not HIS dog. But with peer pressure, he did pick up the crap.
Believe it or not, another dear friend of mine was recently urinated on by a giant Rottweiler at our very own Boyle Park. Imagine a young mother and her 1 year old son peacefully enjoying a picnic in the grass. All mom could do to protect her baby was hover over him while she took the blow. Old Buddha, the dog, proceeded to lift his leg and pee all over mom’s back. Incorrigible. This wouldn’t have happened if Buddha was on leash. End of story. I have heard other reports of off leash dogs snatching food from other picnickers. Another mom park-goer recounted the time a dog ran up and snatched a sandwich from her husband’s hands as he was about to take a bite. Situations like this happen all too frequently with dogs running wild in public parks.
Are we supposed to tolerate this behavior? At what point are the dogs taking away our human rights? Believe it or not, there are actually people who are fearful of dogs. An approaching off leash dog is a major threat to a person like that. An off-leash ban is the ultimate and unfortunate result due to a small percentage of selfish dog people. I grow weary of literally watching my every step every time I take my baby for a stroller ride. I know that most are responsible pet owners. I think it their job to assert some major peer pressure. The littering of feces cannot be tolerated!!! Rule breaking pet owners need to be fined. There is a clear need for poop patrol and enforcement of the laws on this issue.