Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The ugly face of dog-poo fascism

My rural neighborhood is full of dogs. Almost every house is home to a dog - or two. Neighbors meet one another while dog-walking. Some of us are known by our dog's name, instead of our own human name. 

No one likes dog poop dropped on their property, or near the mailbox, or where the car is parked. I carry a little dispenser of plastic bags when I go out with Jack, to pick up his droppings, and so do most of my neighbors.

Last week, some signs appeared on our street, stapled to utility poles. In a kind of perky, passive aggressive slightly guilt-tripping way, they exhorted us to pick up our dog's poop.

But then a few days later, new signs appeared.

They read:
 "The law requires pet owners to clean up after their dogs. It seems Encina Road is ignoring the law. It is an environmental hazard since the waste goes down storm drains and is unhealthy.
We know who you are and will report you to the proper agency.
Please carry a bag and clean up so we can all enjoy our environment."

I like the arch, accusatory touch of "it seems Encina Road is ignoring the law." The chilling fascist touch "we know who you are" - right out of a scary movie. And how, despite the concern about the environment, the author of this sign has stapled it to our beautiful and protected Coast Live Oak trees. And the nice touch of "please" in the final sentence. All it's missing is a smiley face and "have a nice day!"

You know the old saying:
First they came for the dog walkers
and I didn't speak out because I don't have a dog.
Then they came for the leaf-blowers that work before 8:00 am
and I didn't speak out because I don't hire a gardener.
Then they came for those who mingle their recycling with landfill waste
and I didn't speak out because I always recycle.
Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak for me.
With some apologies to Pastor Niemoller.

There are always going to be bossy scolds in our lives but this one seems particularly apt to Topanga to me. There is a rich vein of this kind of environmental moralist scold in Topanga, I'm sorry to say. 

How do you cope with the holier-than-thou in your neighborhood, home, or workplace?


Kizz said...

I hate it when people don't pick up after their dogs but also, sometimes you forget a bag. My rule is always that, if I run out of bags on a walk then I owe the universe an extra pick up not of my household's doing next time I go out. Accidents happen. I do always worry about who might see me on one of those accidental days.

I foresee a flaming bag of dog poop on the sign master's porch any day now. S/he told them to pick it up but s/he didn't specify where to put it!

Cheri @ Blog This Mom!® said...

I'd be a little tempted to Sharpie a message at the bottom of the post: "Posting signs on telephone poles violates our municipal code. We know who you are."

Claudia from Idiot's Kitchen said...

Love that the passive aggressive sign is stapled to a tree. Jeez. I walk every day in a neighborhood where very few people scoop their poop. I don't have a dog but occasionally walk my neighbor's awesome pooch. The last time I was out with the dog, a home owner thanked me (somewhat incredulously) for picking up the dog's poop. I thought that was a nice touch so I've started thanking people who I see on my walk who have bags and are picking up too.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

All we are saying, is give poop a chance!

(Sorry that doesn't fit any of the reality, but it got stuck in my head about 1/4 the way through.)

Janet said...

There are quite a few people who live in my area that don't pick up their dog's poop. I can totally understand the frustration of the person posting the sign. Who wants to step in poop or worse, have their DOG step in it and spread it all over the house? Not me. What's the solution, I wonder?

Anonymous said...

Somehow I always end up living right next door to the neighborhood monitor. We are a mighty challenge to them. One neighbor objected because we left our downstairs windows open.

Anonymous said...

The sign maker seems to indicate that he knows the offender. Why then does he need to threaten everyone?simply ask the offender to pick up after himself. If the offender re-offends then report it. Why does the sign maker feel it necessary to start a war?
I always pick up after my dog. I have asked neighbors, in the past to do the same. Never had a problem when I have asked with a smile and the majic please and thank you words.
The staples on the tree really bugged me. Much more harmful to the tree than poo on the lawn.


Claudia from Idiot's Kitchen said...

So, perhaps in payment for my earlier goodie two shoes comment about always picking up dog poop, today I stepped on a giant dog turd in my other neighbor's yard while wearing my brand spankin new tennis shoes. Arrrrrgggggghhhhhh!


Use one those fliers to line one of your plastic bags.

cactus petunia said...

This is too much! It's enough to make a person crazy, but best dealt with through humor, not anger...Here's how I coped: unsolicited advice
(Although I do like the flaming bag of dog poo idea) Best of luck!

Jen on the Edge said...

While the implementation was very badly done, I understand the frustration behind the messages. Honestly, I think it's pretty shitty (pun not intended, but go ahead and chuckle if you like) when people don't pick up after their dogs. Even 9 times out of 10 is not good enough. And I don't understand why if they don't have bags, they let the dog crap on the sidewalk and not in the grass, away from foot traffic.

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

I once had a neighbor who decided that it was my cat pooping in their garden. While she might have done it a few times, there was a roaming Tom that sprayed everyone's back porches and I suspected him to be the problem. The neighbor, however, could not be convinced it was anyone but Rosa the kitty cat. Mean words and mean actions followed (his, not mine). In the end, I couldn't handle the hatred being issued at me and gave the cat to a family in a different neighborhood.
She was happier in a home with smokers, so perhaps she was nicotine deprived?

The tree is a very odd choice for posting. I like Cheri's idea!

Anonymous said...

Irony never seems to fail to elude dog owners in the the ultimate fascist nature of their relationship with their animal "friends" and the ugly blame that comes when they are asked to behave.