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Dog Poop on the Sidewalk: Is It a Problem on Your Street?

Since my wife and dog and I moved to North Salem in December, I've noticed a lack of responsibility among my fellow dog owners.

Warning — The photo that accompanies this post might turn the stomachs of some readers. But what's worse is running into it in person.

My wife and I (and our elderly dog) moved to North Salem in December. We love our new neighborhood.

That said, I think we have to be honest that there is a dog poop problem along Buffum Street. As a dog walker myself, I have to take responsibilty for keeping those deuces off the sidewalks.

One of my neighbors has taken to drawing attention to the problem by writing "PIG" in big chalk letters on the sidewalk whenever a thoughtless dog owner leaves their pooch's little presents right in the way of pedestrians.

I took the attached photo yesterday. It's just the latest example. I applaud my chalk-using neighbor and decry my other neighbors who insist on not cleaning up after their dog. After I took the photo, I did pick up that poop as best I could. Like many dog walkers, I carry extra bags for just this situation.

That's the report from Buffum in North Salem. How's your street?

Carolyn Costain February 22, 2013 at 05:09 PM
My sister and I walk dogs in North Salem and both of us have pockets full of bags "not that our dogs are big poop heads" but If my sister see's dog poop from other dogs she will clean it up because she don't want dogs getting a bad rep. when its the dog owners fault for not cleaning it up.
Becky M. February 22, 2013 at 05:29 PM
We don't have the problem on our street, but we do notice it more and more on the Pedestrian walkway down Essex. It's disgusting, especially when it's in front of all the stores where visitors walk. It's not the dog's fault the owner doesn't take responsibility for what comes natural but should be cleaned up. I don't have a dog, but even sometimes we carry bags around and pick up other peoples' dog messages so we don't walk in it, or walk in what has already been smashed down by someone else walking through it!
Carolyn Costain February 22, 2013 at 05:32 PM
I think the best way to combat the inconsiderate dog owner that is leaving the poop on Buffum St. is to set up a nanny cam to catch them in the act so you can find out who it is that's leaving poop on the walkways there. I like Buffum st. and have to say that there is more than one owner leave poop behind because we have seen and picked up big and small dog poop left at the end of driveways and walkways on both sides of that street while walking our dogs. There are two rubbish barrels right in the small park at the end of Buffum st. so there is no excuse for any dog owner to just leave poop all over that street like they do.
William Legault February 22, 2013 at 05:40 PM
There is a young lady in that neighborhood, actually from the other side of North St. who is very well known for this. I confronted her and she ceased using the immediate area to relieve her pit bull, but am sure she just moved her route elsewhere. She is a young lady, strongly built who wears a black hoodie with sweat pants and walks a black(grey) & white pit bull. The dog officer is well acquainted with her. An action photo of the her and the dog doing the deed is all that is needed for a court summons.
Matt Buchanan February 22, 2013 at 05:42 PM
Here's what I recently posted under the article about the "skunk problem"...... How about the dog problem.........and by that I mean all the poop everywhere! Let's start by fixing this. During and after the snowstorm my building at Hazel Terrace was littered with poop and pee everywhere, and now that the melt is happening it's absolutely disgusting! And here's where I'm wrong, it's really a people problem. If you see someone leave poop, follow them home and dump it on their front porch, it's the only way to solve the issue. You can't reason with this type of person and must take a direct action approach.
Nancy Gilberg February 22, 2013 at 05:46 PM
I checked in with Salem Sound Coastwatch, who shared this: Salem Sound Coastwatch, our local environmental organization working for clean water and healthy habitats, wants everyone to know that dog waste is actually raw sewage! It gets washed into the nearest storm drain and ends up in the ocean (if it doesn't end up on someone's shoes first). Did you know that storm drains aren't connected to the sanitary sewers? If you didn't, you're not alone. Most people don't realize that everything that gets washed into the storm drain eventually ends up in the ocean (e.g. at Salem Willows / Winter Island) -- untreated. Dog poop is filled with bacteria, parasites and viruses that can be transmitted to humans. One more sobering thought -- children are most affected. The City of Salem will have informative cards available on why we should "Scoop It" at City Hall next week.
Carolyn Costain February 22, 2013 at 06:01 PM
Matt, if you can't reason with a person you definitely don't put poop on there steps. Video them and show the cops the video so they can "Fine them." If you pick up the poop its now your responsibility to dispose of it "not deface an others property with it." You don't want to get in trouble over poop. Just video tape it in the act and them walking away is the best solution. OK' put in on youtube and in the Patch to shame them to. i am going to start carrying my camera while out on walks to in that area to help stop the problem.
Carolyn Costain February 22, 2013 at 06:10 PM
William, a picture might be worth a thousand words but its not enough proof. You need video of the dog going and her walking away. A picture she can argue that yes her dog was pooping but what it don't show is that she cleaned it up.
doc holliday February 22, 2013 at 06:19 PM
Forget about the sidewalks how about the dog sh*t that people leave at the cemeteries.
Carolyn Costain February 22, 2013 at 06:24 PM
I'm sorry Nancy but the inconsiderate poop leaving dog owner is not going to travel to city hall to get a card on why they should pick up poop and us that do pick it up, don't need to read the card because we already know why we pick it up. So those cards are just a waste of taxpayer money and a waste of paper. We need to video and fine the inconsiderate dog owner that's leaving the poop.
Carolyn Costain February 22, 2013 at 06:55 PM
I 100% agree with you there! Greenlawn is one of the prettiest cemeteries around and is close to my heart because quite a few of the gravestones where designed and erected by my grandfathers in the early 1900s "Kimball Brothers Memorials" so when I see poop left behind near gravestones my grandfathers made, its like a total disrespect for both the living and deceased.
Nancy Gilberg February 22, 2013 at 06:59 PM
Carolyn, Salem Sound Coastwatch is a non-profit, so no taxpayer money involved as far as I know. For those of us who want to try to make positive change, I think the pamphlet is a fantastic educational tool - I had a chance to preview it this morning. Those who wish can post them on bulletin boards or hand them out to others.
Carolyn Costain February 22, 2013 at 07:08 PM
The pamphlet may be a fantastic educational tool but an inconsiderate person that leaves poop on the sidewalk because they are to lazy to "pick it up" is surely not going to city hall to "pick the card up."
Nancy Gilberg February 22, 2013 at 07:13 PM
I'm not sure you're understanding me. I meant that YOU could go to City Hall if you wished, and pick up pamphlets to hand out to your neighbors. To me, that would be taking postive action, rather than endless complaining.
Carolyn Costain February 22, 2013 at 07:22 PM
I'm not really the one complaining Nancy "if we see poop while walking our dogs, we just pick it up " The cards, like other junk mail, not many people will even read it even if I hand delivered it. You need a list of dog owners to give them to or put the cards in with the dog lic. renewal form so that dog owners are sure to get them.
Wendy February 22, 2013 at 07:39 PM
As a dog owner this issue totally disgust me. I have 2 dogs that I walk daily through and all around town. I have poop bags in the left hand pocket of ALL my coats and jackets and pick up after both of my dogs. It is my responsibility to do so. I would love to see those owners who do not pick up after their dogs fined and/or publicly acknowledged as one who shirks their responsibility. Walking around Derby Wharf is disgusting-what makes dog owners think it is ok do let your dog poop anywhere and not pick it up. It is not the Park Services job to pick up after your dog. This situation gives responsible dog owners a bad rap.
Matt Buchanan February 22, 2013 at 07:42 PM
Carolyn, you are clearly correct on this issue and your method is the more appropriate way to follow the process, but sometimes to be effective you need to be creative and get people's attention. Although I like the idea of taping this in the act and posting it, I wonder if this might not be a set up for legal problems as well?? As far as your concern about how my proposed method would, "deface other people's property" I'm not too worried about the ethics of this. We're talking about poop droppers who have no objection to defacing my / our property, it seems pretty fair to me. Dog poop is a wide-spread health issue throughout the city and it has certainly not been corrected through using the proper channels. I think people should use a variety of techniques to address this issue and we should take this on as a community in all of our neighborhoods.
Carolyn Costain February 22, 2013 at 08:03 PM
Matt I just don't want to see "you" get in trouble for actions you would take over dog poop. Its not worth it! i seen on the news a few months ago of an apartment building somewhere that the super was sick of dog poop leaving tenants, so now the tenants that own dogs are recording the dogs DNA at a cost of around 35 dollars for people that live in the building with dogs and if poop is not picked up they can test it against the data base. Maybe that will be the solution in the future of all dog owners.
Linda McGrath February 22, 2013 at 09:40 PM
I had a neighbor who collected poop left on his walk for a week then placed the bag on the offenders front steps with a note, "I believe this is yours" and signed it, "The mad paint bomber". Sometimes fighting fire with fire is quite effective. I wasn't that brave but I did put a sign out side, "Please pick up after your dog or walk him in front of your own house". It was not as effective but judging by all the signs that were stolen they were quite popular.
chester suchecki February 22, 2013 at 10:48 PM
just asking but where the hell is the animal control officer? isnt this his job?
chester suchecki February 22, 2013 at 10:50 PM
i almost forgot he got himself appointed parking officer for the salem housing authority. hmmmmm double dipping????????????
Linda McGrath February 22, 2013 at 10:58 PM
The fine in NY is $250.00 and the police issue the tickets. How much is the fine here?
Carolyn Costain February 22, 2013 at 11:20 PM
On the sign at Mack park it says $50 dollars. I would like to know who it is that owns a dog at the house on Mack park because looking at the grounds in back that house on public's land " in and beyond its yard" its covered in dog poo all about the same size.
Kathryn Rutkowski February 23, 2013 at 03:23 AM
I walk home along Essex Street to work and I see many (too many to count) piles of Dog Poop and it disgusts me...if you have a dog and you walk them on the street you you should pick up their poop it is not a hard concept, I wonder is it laziness or complete disregard for rules ...what if I walked my dog in front of their house and didn't pick it up?...it makes the city look unclean and its unhealthy for people (especially children) and other dogs as well. The point is if you cannot clean up after your dog you shouldn't have one.
Kathryn Rutkowski February 23, 2013 at 03:28 AM
I have also confronted people on occasion on the common when i see them start to walk away after their dog has done their business (and a lot of them pretend to be texting and pretend they don't see it) and I have literally said "are you going to pick that up" and they some lie and say "pick what up?" and when I point it out they say"oops I guess I forgot a bag" and I have handed them a supermarket bag and said "It's your lucky day...here!" and they grumble and usually pick it up...only one guy cussed me out for saying something.
Meg Elizabeth February 23, 2013 at 04:00 AM
Nancy, these sound helpful, and a nice addition to give to those that 'forgot their bag' as well . I wonder if we could get signs for all the parks about these facts and the fines? Also, I find the lack of trash barrels annoying, and probably a deterrent for some (i don't want to carry poop). I don't have a dog, so I'm guessing here. But if I recall, my last walk by the wharf (friendship part) there were no trash cans there.
ACG February 23, 2013 at 02:40 PM
I live off of Buffum and agree that it is a problem from time to time. We have two dogs and when we walk around the neighborhood we always have bags with us. Drives me crazy when I come home from work and see a pile of poop on the sidewalk in front of my door.
Tracey Mitchell February 23, 2013 at 06:41 PM
Once again another disgusting problem left unchecked here in Salem, as I'm sure in other cities as well. I being a walking person all of the time, I spend most of it managing to avoid the land mines left everywhere. One spot which is totally gross is by the St Joe construction site, these people who live down here, and I'm sure we all know who most of them are, act totally clueless and have no problem letting 2 or 3 pitbulls do their business and keep right on walking. How about having Salem's finest issue a few tickets, until something is done these people will continue to destroy the quality of life for everyone who enjoys their daily walks
Stephan June 02, 2013 at 03:11 PM
Using worms to cnvert dog poop into plant food! Dealing with dog waste is probably one of the things every dog owner dreads! There are indeed millions of nicer topics to talk about than dog waste or dog shit (sorry for using that word but it is what it is)! But lets face it every proud owner of a German Shepherd, Jack Russel, Husky or any other breed will have to make a plan to get rid of his or her best friends waste. After all dog feces can be annoying, smelly and even the cause of disease. There are a lot of bacteria in dog waste including E. coli, and salmonella. Probably the most common way to deal with dog waste is to send the children into the garden or backyard on a regular basis to scoop up the smelly piles and throw them into the rubbish bin. This way we get rid of the problem in our backyard but the animal waste would still be dumped on the municipal landfill sites and pose a threat to the communal health. A much better way to deal with dog waste is to use earthworms or better composting worms to convert the dog shit into nutrient rich worm castings. Dog shit, is in an excellent food source for earthworms. Worms don’t have teeth and can only feed on soft decomposing materials. To get free advise how to start a pet poop composter go to the following web site and learn how you can easily recycle dog poop without bad odors or trouble! http://www.worm-composting-help.com/dog-poop.html Kind regards Stephan
Layla DeAmore June 27, 2013 at 01:05 PM
This photograph is poor excuse for evidence and the writer's word is an excellent example of ignorance. While I commend your effort, albeit obnoxious effort, to clean up your streets, did you consider a poor stray animal might have done that? Accusing dog walkers of not cleaning up after their dogs is actually as tactless as dog walkers not cleaning up after their dogs. In the event a dog walker is unable to clean up after his or her dog, I encourage those who call out "Aren't you going to clean that up?" to merely say, "I'm guessing your forgot your cleanup bag, but I have one you can use." This shows the that the self professed dog poop neighborhood watchers are not demented idiots on the look out for dog poop crimes, but instead they love their neighborhood and want to encourage others to love it as well. Sometimes, you get more flies with sugar...and yes, poop too. Otherwise, each person is just as obnoxious as each other.

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