Dog poop altars


Winter, spring, summer and fall-  beach paths, trails, sidewalks, boulders and streets are not immune to collections of remaindered dog poop bag offerings.


I assume this back windshield wiper tie off is temporary. However I’ve seen them on parked cars like this one in the Cape Ann Museum lot.


A Gloucester resident writes about this inconsiderate habit common in local…cemeteries. I have seen them there, too. Today’s paper July 9, 2018 Dog Owners should remove waste

IMG_20180710_061359 (1)

Not just Gloucester. Friends are barking mad about dog poop on Manchester Singing Beach. A frustrated Rockport resident penned a letter to the editor May 2018 “The Dog Poop Saga” , Gloucester Daily Times. 

THE DOG POOP SAGA Carrie DeFort letter to the editor Gloucester Daily Times Monday May 14 2018.jpg

and another March 23 2017, this one in the police notes “Owners fined for pet poop on beach” 

Why is Gloucester providing bags at all especially at the newly completed Boulevard? They don’t seem to work.

Around the globe:

  • Cities go to extreme lengths to tackle a dog poop epidemic- excerpt “And so cities, tired of the turd, are devoting precious brainstorming hours to inventing ever-more-novel ways to combat it. The latest is Madrid, which this week announced a “shock plan” to force dog owners in two districts to clean up after their pets: Those caught not doing so must either spend a few days as substitute street cleaners or face a $1,700 fine. The Spanish capital’s city hall said “there is still excrement in the streets, parks and other places” despite “repeated public awareness campaigns” and the distribution of millions of free poo bags, according to The Guardian…In 2013, Brunete, a suburb of Madrid, boxed up dog feces and mailed it to scofflaw owners. For two weeks, volunteers spied on dog walkers, sidled up to those who didn’t scoop and asked the name of the pooch — which, because most were registered with the city, was usually enough information to determine the owner’s address. Mayor Borja Gutierrez told the New York Times that the problem was the No. 1 constituent complaint, and that the mail-bombs had improved things by 70 percent. “It’s your dog, it’s your dog poop. We are just returning it to you,” Gutierrez said. Why are such absurd programs necessary? Fortunately, someone tried to find out. Last year, Matthias Gross, a German sociologist, published an entire paper about it in the journal Environmental Sociology. Its title: “Natural waste: canine companions and the lure of inattentively pooping in public.”
  •  DNA pursuits: “People used to think dog poop was harmless; it was considered fertilizer when in fact it contains more bacteria and chemicals than human poop, spreads parasites and pollutes our water supply,” said J Retinger, CEO of BioPet Labs. “We also have way more dogs in the world. Millennials have dogs before they have children.”… BioPet’s subsidiary, PooPrints, may be the ultimate solution for eradicating dog poop scofflaws. The company, which has grown 40 percent since 2016, provides a DNA testing program to 3,000 clients — primarily homeowners’ associations and building managers — in the U.S., Canada and England, including 250 in Florida. More than 250,000 dogs are in the PooPrints registry. Communities that implement the program require residents to profile and register their dogs. Offending poop gets tested, and the DNA is matched with the offending dog. The owner faces fines or eviction.“Property managers report a 95 to 99 percent reduction in waste,” said Ernie Jones, PooPrints sales manager. “People know DNA testing is accurate and will make them accountable. If you know you are going to get fined $250 to $500 you will take a couple minutes to pick up after your dog.”
  • Japan- (2015)City launched app to report dog poo

Along with consequences (taxes and fines), some communities try incentives beyond bags. New Taipei Taiwan unleashed a dog poop lottery: “Officials in New Taipei City say that more than 4,000 people have collected 14,500 bags of excrement. For each bag they turned in, they were given a lottery ticket. A woman in her 50s won the top prize – a gold ingot worth $2,200 (£1,400). The scheme was due to end in October, but officials said it had been so successful it had been extended…”

The Poop Problem: What to Do With 10 Million Tons of Dog Waste, op-ed, Live Science, April 2014 What’s wrong with scrap paper or newspaper? I used that in New York when Bags were not a thing.

poop graphic.png

19 thoughts on “Dog poop altars

  1. The images of vehicles with dog bags on their wipers are those of responsible dog owners that have picked up after their pets. Nothing wrong with what their doing. Also, at the entrances of beaches you’ll often see bags left by dog owners when the dog already did its business and they’re out walking. I do this because I don’t want to carry the bag for a mile when I walk the dog. I come back and take it with me when I leave.

    In short, I think this post is a bit harsh on dog owners. I suspect you don’t own a dog Catherine. Or, if you do, you don’t take it for walks on the beach or in the woods. A little understanding goes a long way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Scott5535 for taking some time to write back and your thoughtful conversation.
      I don’t have a solution. I’ve just been documenting a local increase and am trying to understand. If there weren’t bags what does one do? When I had dogs 😦 I loved long walks. Bags were not a thing. Someone else has written about compost stations- I leave that to the environmental experts and the impact of various levels of green bags.

      On most every walk someone tells me they’re circling back to pick that up, yet that is not my experience. I photograph some of the bags days and weeks later. I get it–I regret walking with my soda can or iced coffee and people leave those, too.

      The car wipers– point taken. And that’s a more recent and far less common event (last two years?) I brought a client to the museum that day who thought it was gross; I did not think to say “That’s a responsible dog owner.” I admit I thought it was gross, too.

      I don’t like sign clutter warnings, and see that policy and consequences have not had much impact, anywhere. I do like that people are out and exercising and cherishing their pets and loved back. I also see beachwalkers picking up trash as part of their walk.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks Catherine. One thing I did in the past on walks on the outskirts of town was take an old, clean spaghetti sauce bottle and drop the dog’s waste in its bag inside and screw the cap shut. When I got to a trash bin I would remove it from my backpack and dispose of it there. Transporting pet waste like this could work anywhere and car drivers wouldn’t have to deal with a odor in their cars this way. Just so you know, Virgilio’s makes their spaghetti sauce bottles with this exact purpose in mind 🙂


    2. Sorry Scott, I don;t agree with you. I’ve owned over 20 dogs through the years. Large and small. When I walk them (currently walk two) I carry 3-4 zip lock bags and tissues all folded and ready for use. I also carry a spray bottle of water for those times when it is a bit “runny” and there’s some residue left behind. I know it runs into off and does pollute but I don’t want someone stepping in it. I also end up picking up some other dog’s poop most times as well. If you’re going to own a dog (or any pet for that matter) then you should be responsible for it. If you don’t want to carry a bag around then put a diaper on your dog. But to say I leave it at the entrance and plan to pick it up on my way out is BS and all of us know that. If you have a baby child and change their diaper you put the dirty diaper in a diaper bag and haul it off. It’s the same thing. Bottom line….the rest of the world should not see anyone’s dog poop when they walk. So it there’s one poop out there the entire dog owning community takes the hit.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for reading and adding your perspective, Rick. And your how to tips–You do a lot. (more than I ever did)


      2. Thanks Rick. One thing I thought of doing is to write my name on a wooden clothes pin and clip it to the top of the bag when I plan to come back and get it. When I get back to my car I can put it into a jar. I still refuse to carry dog poop with me, however, as I walk the entire length of the beach and back. However, if it comes into vogue someday and woman suddenly find it attractive I may change my ways.


  2. The alley from Main Street to Rogers Street, the one with the painted fishnet is a dog poop bag drop too!


    1. Hi Kate. thanks for reading. Is that a recent thing? We cleaned that space bi-monthly April-November 2012-2016, and I myself did not see dog poop. I remember weeds and cigarette butts, food, sometimes nip bottles. I don’t walk any downtown route regularly– perhaps other readers will chime in. (I’ve just noticed a few puddle pooling spots could be fixed up.) I think the city does a great job cleaning everywhere with the resources it has to work with.

      I wonder what Donna and Patti and others who have devoted so much time pitching in year after year have found? And Perhaps the butts have calmed down with the butlers.


  3. Did you ever solve the mystery of the tree that had what looked like dog poop bags on it–someone here posted a photo in the last year. I’m curious!


  4. The graphic is a little over the top.

    Question: What is the difference between all the thousands of wild animal poops in the woods on Cape Ann and a dog poop?

    The answer is that the dog poop came out of a dog that likely gets better care than you as a human does from a multitude of professional veterinarians on Cape Ann. They do not have any of these worms or diseases crawling out of their butts and the dog shit is not “toxic”. The bacteria living in the gut of a dog is not toxic or lethal. If children all played with dogs and the dogs licked their face every now and again they might share those bacteria and not be allergic to the world.

    Next we will be wiping up gull shit in hazardous waste bags and those deer and coywolf shits are toxic bombs. Turning sarcasm back off. Those might actually have parasitic worms but it is called nature.

    We are scaring ourselves into fearing nature because the woods will kill us. Yes, picking up after your dog is the right thing to do. Dog shits are gross especially between the toes. But let’s not hyperventilate.

    I also agree that the worst thing in the world is a dog shit in a plastic bag. One week and indeed, that is a microbiology nightmare. People who leave them or even drop them in my trash should EDSAD.


    1. Hi Paul. Thanks for adding in. I agree re graphic (plus it advises bagging), bacteria exposure, and that the gross factor uptick I’m observing is… the stew bags.


      1. Makes your think a bit here is needed – Natural for dog marking turf, and I am not talking Poop but Pee. The problem I see here is that the human picks it up, bags it, then says well I’ve done my part but putting it there for others to pick up, I bagged it. No, you did not come full circle and complete the disposal properly that means other are picking up after you…

        Remember as younger days, as a child, mom telling you I am not going to pick up after you? You made the mess in your room toys or what ever you pick it up. It’s all about foundation you were brought up in accountability for ones actions. Like a house with a weak foundation will fail/fall eventually and you don’t want to be in it when it does, so do it right the first time. Not just poop, your beer cans, plastic water bottles, other trash you need to dispose of properly nothing more nothing less! Oh and that nasty GUM on my shoes-sneakers!! Tango Mike (Thanks Much)!!

        Remember there is a difference between private setting– your yard –and public settings shared by many. What you do with your dog in your yard is your business, however outside public domain expectation is a wee bit different you affect all who share. Be a good community member and work together to keep it from happening.

        I can tell you we brothers and I picked up the dog poop in our back yard as that was the play area for us and don’t want any un-wanted surprises OOPS…

        All this poop need to get a musical break!

        Chicago – Beginnings – 7/21/1970 – Tangle wood (Official)

        🙂 Dave

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for posting this Catherine. Too many selfish dog owners ruin it for everyone else. And the excuse of leaving the bag to pick up later is a poor one. Before you know it there’s a big pile of bags and Ben if someone intended to retrieve their bag the ill not sort through the growling pile to find there’s. We need to up the fines to $500 and more.


  6. I forgot to mention what I do when Stella pinches one off. When I take her for a long walk I first always let her out in my back yard. I get her leash and a Market Basket plastic bag for the walk but I hardly ever use the bag.

    How is this possible? Is Stella magical? No. She pinches one off on the lawn near the flower garden. Before I mow the lawn I scoop up her poops and drop them around the Foxglove and daisies. Organic fertilizer! (Although Purina contains GMO my daisies do not seem to care.)

    If I miss one I know that the turd is sitting on the perfect organic composting filtering system which has been working since the first multicellular organism with an anus pinched one off 480 million years ago. It’s called soil.

    Liked by 1 person

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