No Dogs Wasted Here: Dog Police, Part Deux Deux

no dog poop message spray painted on wood covering garage door
Think of the children! No dog poop. Kids walk to school here. A warning message from The Dog Police, on patrol in Wilmerding

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?

sticker letters on siding reading "no dogs wasted here"
No dogs wasted here. Millvale

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.

hand-written signs on garbage can to stop putting dog shit in cans
Stop asshole no shit in my cans / Dont put your dogs *shit* in my cans. Lawrenceville

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.

hand-written sign on utility pole saying "Pick up after your pups poops"
Pick up after your pups poops. Dravosburg

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.

"No dogs" sign in front of large garden
Forget the poop, some dog police go straight to the root of the problem. NO DOGS. Millvale
hand-written signs on garbage can to stop putting dog shit in cans
Stop!! Take your dog shit home!! Not a public can!! Lawrenceville
message to keep dog poop cleaned-up on parking sign
Semi-official-looking dog police. Keep you dog shit … cleaned up. Lawrenceville
"No animal waste" handmade sign in front garden
Not into species-shaming dog police. No animal waste. Lawrenceville
handmade sign in front yard to not let dogs do their business
Gender-inclusive dog police. Do not let your dog do their business ((here)). Highland Park
message hung from tree limb to not let dogs pee on grass
Think of the children! (again) Kids on the block play here, please do not let your dog go potty. Lawrenceville
handmade sign to clean up dog droppings
Clean up dog droppings. Bloomfield
hand-written sign on gate asking owners to stop their dogs from shitting
Please stop *your* dog from shitting on my property!!! Thats very inconsiderate of you. Stanton Heights
hand-painted stone with message "Please curb your dog"
Dog cop rock. Please curb your dog. Millvale
foam pad with message "no peeing on the plants" written
No peeing on the plants. Lawrenceville
message to clean up doog poop in stickers on side of house
Have a bag clean your dog — poop, Millvale
street sign with owner scooping dog poop
Drop cops, from the butts of mutts. Etna
pumpkin lawn sign with message to keep dogs off lawn
The dog police, all decorated for fall. Please keep dogs off my lawn. Munhall [photo: Lee Floyd]
cinderblock wall with "no dogs" stenciled
No dogs. (Just smile) Millvale
sign across row house airway reading "no dog poop"
The dog police at the end of the tunnel. No Dog Poop. Polish Hill
handmade sign to keep dogs out of yard
Keep dogs out of yard!! Thank you. East Liberty
egg carton with "no dogs please" written on it
If you bring your dog around, start carton their poop home with you. No dogs please. Lawrenceville
message to clean up dog poop taped to front door of house
Hey! Please use the trash can across the street instead of our storefront for your dog poop. Thx. Lawrenceville
message taped to garbage can saying "no poop bags"
No poop bags in my garbage cans. Thank you. Lawrenceville
message taped to garbage can saying "no poop bags"
Attention! Please do not put your dog’s poop bag in my garbage can. Thank you. Lawrenceville
message about dog poop bags use written on styrofoam plate
Please do not leave ‘green’ poop bags on trails or throw off trails. Dispose all poop bags properly. Thank You. Frick Park
hand-written signs in house front windows asking for owners to pick up their dogs' poop
Smile you’re on camera / Please pick up your dog’s poop. Free bags below. Lawrenceville
message to clean up dog poop on chain link fence
It is your job as the dog owner and not mine as the homeowner to clean up after you and your dog… Be respectful of other homes. Larimer
message to clean up dog poop on chain link fence
Attention dog owners and walkers: if your dog poops on our grass please have the courtesy to scoop it up so that we are not stepping in your dogs poop. Larimer

See also: “The Scoop on Poop or Hill Street Doo Doos: On Patrol with the Dog Police” (Pittsburgh Orbit, Sept. 22, 2019)

The Scoop on Poop OR Hill Street Doo Doos: On Patrol with The Dog Police

Dog Police beat poetry: “Shit No / Dog Shit Shit / No Dog Shit”, Friendship

The brick structure is two stories tall, three car-widths wide, with a barn-like gambrel roof. It’s been painted in a striking color scheme of deep black and vivid red. The legit c. 1900 carriage house faces the back alley of one of Friendship’s many stately manses. Across the building’s three sets of big wooden folding doors are a collection of crude, self-administered graffiti publicizing a wild set of existentialist free verse:

Shit no
Dog shit shit
No dog shit

metal rail painted with message "Curb your dogs!"

“Curb your dogs!” Shadyside

Title Six, Article III of the City of Pittsburgh’s Code of Ordinances deals with citizens’ conduct around the ownership of dogs, cats, and other animals. It’s a lengthy tract full of minutia on the expected behavior for pet owners on predictable topics like spaying and neutering; the conditions of kennels and catteries; food, water, and bedding; off-leash exercise areas.

Section § 634.09 deals with sanitation. The first paragraph is as close as we get to detailing the conduct around expectations for dog (and cat) poop:

(a) Excreta shall be removed from primary enclosures and exercise areas on a daily basis. Feces and soiled litter material shall be removed from all litter pans on a daily basis. Absorbent litter and/or any other litter material used to absorb urine shall be changed when it becomes thirty (30) percent saturated with urine.

No! Lawrenceville

Setting aside any comments on whether cat owners (ahem) ever let Mr. Peeper’s litter box get “thirty (30) percent saturated with urine,” this finely-worded requirement has more gray area than one may think.

Is a dog owner, taking the pooch out on a stroll, required to clean up Fido’s dookie or not? Is every block a dog walks his or her “exercise area”? And if so, “daily basis” suggests a person has a fair window, perhaps as much as 24 hours–or at least until Midnight–to clean up anything left behind on the jaunt.

With no law in sight, the city’s homeowners have become vigilantes of a sort–the sidewalk and front yard their beat; dog crap the contraband flooding the beaches and temping youths into a an amoral lifestyle of loose peeing and rampant defecation. These are The Dog Police.

“Clean that shit up,” Bloomfield

The city’s web site offers a little more information on the For Pet Owners page. Without any specification of repercussions, the site defines the following (among other actions) as “nuisance violations”:

  • Allowing a dog to “go to the bathroom” on school grounds, a City park or other public or private property (It is not considered to be a nuisance violation if you immediately clean up after your dog – called “Poop-Scoop” laws in most communities).
  •  Allowing your pet to scratch, dig or defecate on any lawn, tree, shrub, plant, building or any other public or private property other than that of the owner or person in charge or control of the animal.

“Please clean up after your dog,” Lawrenceville

One might assume that Rover’s, uh, solid waste would be the primary source on contention here–and that probably is the case–but one would be underestimating the full jurisdiction of The Dog Police.

Dog urine kills flowers reads one dinner plate-cum-public service announcement and it is true that canine pee–in enough quantity–can kill flowers, grass, and other foliage. This seems to be a result of the combination of alkaline pH of dog urine, its nitrogen load, and enough repeated applications–i.e. one or more dogs hitting the same spots over and over.

That said, it’s unlikely that a neighborhood dog passing umpteen tempting bushes, lamp posts, grassy lawns, and, yes, flower patches are really going to lay waste to mother nature. But … maybe.

plate with message "Dog urine kills flowers. Please curb dogs." in garden flowers, Pittsburgh, PA

“Dog urine kills flowers. Please curb dogs.” Shadyside

If killing the petunias and turning the grass brown wasn’t enough, The Dog Police work another urban scourge–disposing of Scout’s crap in someone else’s private receptacles.

Take dog poop home with dog reads a hand-painted brick holding down the lid of a garbage can in Friendship; another sign, just a few blocks away, demands Do not throw dog wastes in garbage can or driveway.

brick painted with message "Take dog poop home with dog" on outside garbage bins

“Take dog poop home with dog,” Friendship

One would think that having the “dog waste” disposed of in the rubbish bin would be vastly preferable to … just about any realistic alternative. But this gets into the “broken window” theory of dog policing–you let them put Ranger’s shit in your 50-gallon Rubbermaid today, they’ll be soiling that tall fescue, asking who’s a good boy? and laughing in your face about it tomorrow. Let’s nip this (quite literal) shit in the bud right now.

Sign posted on garage wall reading "Do not throw dogs wastes in garbage cans or driveway,"

“Do not throw dogs wastes in garbage cans or driveway,” Friendship

It’s a cruel world out there. In the face of global environmental catastrophe, absolute political corruption–not to mention each of our own worries about health, economics, and mortality–a patch of stray dog poop or some browned grass can seem mighty petty.

BUT–with dogs, there’s always a big butt–if I was the homeowner repeatedly waking up to a minefield of crap on the sidewalk or my black-eyed Susans murdered in the night by a spray of Fido whiz, well, I’d be pissed-off too. One has to assume you don’t go to the lengths of painting your garage over just one or two stray incidents.

That’s when ordinary citizens feel the need to take the law into their hands. That’s when we call The Dog Police.

handmade yard sign reading "Please be a good neighbor!!! Clean up after your dog"

“Please be a good neighbor!!! Clean up after your dog.” Shadyside

“Clean up after your dog please! Yuck!” Bloomfield