Stuck to the aluminum siding of a little house up the hill in Millvale, a set of peel-and-stick letters spells out a curious message: No dogs wasted here.
Is this a rehab clinic for hooched pooches? An embetterment program for down-on-their luck pups? A recycling center for man’s-best-friends at their wits-last-ends?
Of course not! Don’t be ridiculous! Diligent Orbit staff know when The Dog Police are on patrol, keeping the streets, alleys, and—especially—residential trash receptacles safe from the terror of incoming canine caca. Foreign or domestic, but always unwanted, Fido’s doo-doo and Scout’s dishonor are a deeply divisive feature of the pedestrian experience.
Having neither a mutt to strut nor publicly-available trash can, your author—excuse the expression—doesn’t have a dog in this fight, so we’re but mere spectators from the cheap seats as the daily doggo drama plays itself out just about everywhere.
What’s the right thing to do?
The responsible pet-owner takes their furry friends out for daily constitutionals, lets them sniff all the fire hydrants and boxwood hedges they care to, and picks up the droppings inevitably jettisoned from their mutts’ butts right there on the sidewalks and grassy patches along the way. Do we expect the human companions to carry the scat sachet all the way home? Or are public/city trash cans an acceptable end point for the excrement?
Alternately, the home owner doesn’t want to deal with that (quite literal) crap—either on the sidewalk or in their street-facing waste bins. It doesn’t make a lot of sense—it’s just trash, right?—but people feel a sense of violation when anyone uses their bins, and when that trash is dog shit—that’s where it gets ugly—and smelly.
Like certain other ages-old, inconsolable rifts, it’s unlikely the poop-scoop-and-scoot crowd will ever reach a peaceful accord with the all-volunteer dog police, but we can dream.
Until then, please curb your dog, no peeing on the plants, use the trash can across the street, and make sure none of your possessives or contractions include apostrophes.
See also: “The Scoop on Poop or Hill Street Doo Doos: On Patrol with the Dog Police” (Pittsburgh Orbit, Sept. 22, 2019)