It’s a concept that hasn’t caught on where I’m living. Or in many other cities, I suspect, in this part of the country. The standard of living in Zhangjiagang, in Jiangsu Province, is well above much of the rest of the country and is loaded with parks, large and small, as well as a system of canals lined with picturesque walking paths.
One of the benefits of living here is the abundance of pedway options, most of which, if not all, are kept reasonably clean. Seven days a week you’ll find an army of street cleaners, sidewalk and park sweepers and refuse collectors busy cleaning up. It’s a non-stop process and the results are clearly evident in the area’s cleanliness. That is, except the dog poop on the walking paths. The wide thistle brooms seem to sweep a wide arc around the mounds.
Fortunately there are not nearly as many pet dogs here as there are in New York City, but it’s probably a function of percent. It’s strange because I live among dozens of 12-story buildings and see precious few dogs. But those that are here seem to sniff out the walking paths. And there’s been a significant increase in four-legged, little toy balls of energy running, leash free, near their owners.
It was in the early 70’s when NYC passed a Canine Waste Law, outlining that dog owners, by law, could not let their dogs crap in public and walk away without cleaning up the mess. In societies where we share public spaces, it makes sense not to abuse that space by dumping refuse — of any kind. Letting your pet dog take a dump in a public space without cleaning it up constitutes abuse, as many cities around the globe have determined by passing similar laws. The help with the reminder, many neighborhoods in NYC post “Curb Your Dog” signs which is a polite way of saying don’t let the dog poop and run.
GV and I had a doggie for a few months about 10 years ago. A little Pomeranian, this puppy had the personality of a doberman pack leader. Fortunately, his cleanup was small. Nevertheless, it was still cleanup. I didn’t mind so much outside in public, after all it was my duty. Where I minded was in our apartment (also my duty). I did all the wrong things trying to train his “business” habits. I did what I remembered DOD doing when I was young — rubbing the dog’s nose in his excrement while giving him a good crack on the backside. Not until after we gave him away (I found a willing and eager family) did I realize that I was going about his potty training habits all wrong. It broke our hearts to get rid of him but neither of us could handle the cleanup.
And that’s the point. In urban areas, having pet dogs equals cleanup responsibility. If we live in a society with public spaces, letting your dog dump and run and leaving it, is, well, pretty shitty.
Where I live I shouldn’t be surprised — a society still grappling with how to control spitting habits. No one with a dog here carries anything to clean up.
So for now, my morning walks along the beautiful scenic paths are with a wary eye constantly on the lookout so that I can quickly, and gracefully, dance around the gifts left by the uncurbed dog.