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20-40-60 Etiquette---Clean it up!

by Helen Ford Wallace Published: June 17, 2013


By Callie Gordon, Lillie-Beth Brinkman, Helen Ford Wallace


QUESTION: I live in a nice neighborhood. Walks are common among neighbors and their furry friends. These ordinarily friendly folk have no problem allowing their animals to let loose their business anywhere — driveways, gardens, lawns. On numerous occasions. I have offered a plastic bag for cleanup only to be rejected. My grievance is the lack of responsibility for their pet. Any thoughts on this problem?

CALLIE’S ANSWER: I think you have done all you can by offering a doggie bag. I think it is great if you keep trying to offer these doggie bags. In some neighborhoods people can get fined if they do not clean up after their pets. I would check into this and see what your neighborhoods policy is.

LILLIE-BETH’S ANSWER: This is such a problem that there are services that advertise the ability to test a dog’s DNA and compare it to the poop on your lawn so you know exactly who the culprit was; in other states, I’ve read about some neighborhoods requiring owners to register the DNA of their dogs in order to track the unscooped poop. That doesn’t help you solve your problem, but it might help to know you’re not alone.

We try to bring cleanup bags every time we take our dog on a walk, and if we forget one, we’ll drive back to the spot and clean it up later. It’s too bad that you were rejected in your offer to provide such a bag, but it sounds like you’ve done all you can do other than call city officials to register a complaint.

HELEN’S ANSWER: If you have a dog, being responsible for it means cleaning up after it. In some states fines are given if you don’t scoop the poop.

Removing dog poop and disposing of it can be viewed as a public heath issue and should be treated accordingly. Keep offering those plastic bags as a reminder. Some neighborhoods post signs saying “please clean up after your dog.”

GUEST’S ANSWER: Richard Rosser, author of the Piggy Nation book series and musical and first assistant director for “The Neighbors” on ABC: The Pesky Poop Problem has plagued homeowners since the Neanderthal first domesticated the dingo and it pooped in front of his neighbor’s cave. I’ve never understood pet owners’ rationale for refusing to pick up their pet’s poop.

Consider installing a pet waste station (available on the Internet for $100) or a decorative edging fence around your yard. If those suggestions fail, you could always collect the poop for a month and dump it on the pet owner’s lawn.

Callie Gordon is 20-something, Lillie-Beth Brinkman is in her 40s, and social columnist Helen Ford Wallace is 60-plus. To ask an etiquette question, email

by Helen Ford Wallace
Society Editor
Helen Ford Wallace is a columnist covering society-related events/news for The Oklahoman. She puts local parties online with daily updates. She creates, maintains and runs a Parties blog which includes web casts. She is an online web editor for...
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