I stoop down on the sidewalk, wearing a blue plastic bag over my hand like a sock puppet. Using it like a glove, I close my fingers around the squishy, warm dog poo.
So my morning begins.
Poop-scooping is the law in New York City. (It’s also clear proof city people love their dogs more than country people. Because nothing says love like handling puppy poo half a dozen times a day.)
The sanitation department says data is hard to collect. (Hard as pooch poop on a leaf pile? Are you trying?) They report 60% of pet owners scoop poop.
On my walk this morning, I decide to get my own statistics. Plato the Whippet and I trekked 1.5 miles. In that space, we counted six un-scooped poops. Or one every quarter mile. To be fair, only two of them were worth remarking upon. If hadn’t been officially counting, I would never have seen other four, off to the side and under bushes. There was even a trio of tiny turds left by a Chihuahua or some other miniscule breed. So that’s one per every .75 miles.
As most long-term city dwellers attest, the place is much cleaner than it used to be. We now have 600,000 pooches, double the tally when the pooper-scooper law was passed in the late 70s. Bottom line: We’re doing pretty well against a much bigger pile of dog shit. If only we could clean up the other crap.
New York City’s “pooper scooper” law, passed in 1978, says a pet owner “shall not permit [an] animal to commit a nuisance on a sidewalk of any public place.” Clearly we need the same law for humans. Practically everyone I see is committing a nuisance on a sidewalk.
A just-out survey of financial professionals says that one in five of them engages in unethical or illegal activity. Thirty percent of the making-over-$500K crowd says they have “firsthand knowledge of wrongdoing in the workplace.”
Here’s some other folks leaving crap behind them:
- Oil and gas industry
- Super Pacs
I think more of the high and mighty need to scoop some literal poop. If George Bush or Dick Cheney daily knelt multiple times a day behind a pooping dog would we have gotten into Iraq? If bank CEOs did more dog-doo duty would they have had the megalomania to push us all off the financial cliff in 2009?
As we learned in the financial sector, fines don’t work. Summonses for not cleaning up after your dog are $50 a pop. Or a poop, as it were. But it’s really the public shaming that forces everyone into line. I hear a lot of, “Hey! You in the baseball cap! Clean up after your dog,” as I walk my beloved crap factory around the park.
It would be great to translate this to the broader topics of climate change and political and financial corruption. “Hey! You in the boardroom! Clean up the crap you create!”
Maybe we could even institute a “report a non-pooper-scooper” form like the city has.