Mounting archaeological evidence indicates that human beings first began cohabiting with canines over 30,000 years ago, somewhere in the Middle Paleolithic Era. What scientists have yet to discover, however, is why, after all this time, the descendants of those early peoples, now living in some of the most advanced civilizations in history, are still grappling with the issue of properly collecting and disposing of dog waste.
In 1959, a woman named Brooke Miller tried to solve that problem when she invented the “Super Duper Pooper Scooper”; a long-handled rake that made it possible to pick up the poo without bending and transfer it into a bag without touching it, but its’ popularity was short-lived. Today, most pet parents simply opt for small plastic baggies, which are effective, inexpensive, and widely available. Those who are environmentally conscious will even go the extra mile to purchase corn or petroleum-based bags that are bio-degradable and compost-able.
Whereas the vast majority of pup parents are obviously considerate and responsible enough to clean up after their dogs, there are always a few, in every neighborhood who are simply careless and have no regard for their neighbors. That seems to be the case in Bergen Beach, where local residents have observed dog waste left abandoned directly in front of “Curb Your Dog” lawn signs and poop-filled green bags piled up at catch basins, where are there are prominent pavement markers that read, “Drains to waterways, no dumping”. In addition to clogging essential catch basins, plastic bags full of #2 also have the potential to harm marine wildlife and the environment as a whole.
The law is very clear on this. New York State PHL §1310 requires any person who owns or controls a dog to remove any feces left by that dog on any sidewalk, gutter, street, or other public area and dispose of it in a legal manner. It is a serious offense and carries a fine of $250. Both the Department of Sanitation and the Department of Environmental Protection urge residents to call 311 to file an “animal waste complaint” if they observe a person who does not pick up after their pet.
Animal advocates encourage pet parents to use curbing as a valuable opportunity to quickly examine their companion’s excrement as a barometer of health. Sally Tomlinson, a professional dog-walker from Park Slope, advises that the poop of a healthy dog should always be chocolate brown, shaped like a log and have the consistency of Play-Doh when you squeeze it gently through the plastic bag. After squeezing, Tomlinson says she always double-knots the bag just in case and brings it to the nearest garbage pail, which sometimes means carrying it with her for a block or two. Now if that isn’t love, what is?