Community Post

Note of the Week: the Poo/Trash Controversy Continues

In Seattle, it seems like one of the preferred ways to communicate your displeasure with your fellow man is through a carefully written note.  This one near 22nd & Pine goes the next step, adding physical evidence of the upsetting infraction, in the form of a bag of dog poo tied to a tree branch. The note reads “Your dog, Your poop goes in Your can!”

Personally, I’ve never understood how a bag of dog poo placed in a garbage can could be such a point of friction between dog walkers and residents. It’s trash, right? Would the trash can otherwise an unspoiled oasis if the poo wasn’t there?

But maybe I’m off base.  Vote your feelings here:

0 thoughts on “Note of the Week: the Poo/Trash Controversy Continues

  1. I’m grateful when people pick up the poo rather than just leaving it for me to step on and squish. Now if only the 2 bottle a night Wild Turkey guys would be so thoughtful as to put the bottles in the can rather than in the ivy….

  2. Actually, the city owns the garbage cans and we just rent them. Therefore, anyone can put trash in your can if it’s out and in front of your house.

  3. Yeah, actually, I wish the folks who leave the bottles and cans would, on their way off my lawn, not only take away their containers, but also use them to collect any errant dog crap, and take it all home to their own disposal receptacles . . .

    But, hey, any garbage in the can rather than left on the lawn is OK with me.

  4. …I try to mix up the personal trash cans I use on my various routes with the dog because I’m mindful of altercations with canine feces-phobic residents of our neighborhood. Then I remember two things: 1) In a city where people are so afraid of direct “confrontation”, I’m more likely to be struck by lightening than to have somebody actually “SAY” something to me, and 2) Do I really think putting dog waste in a personal can that is picked up, but never touched, by waste management professionals is worse than putting it in, say, the garbage in front of King Creole where some small business owner ends up emptying it themselves?

    You tell me.

  5. 1) Any trash can is better than leaving it on the parking strip for me to step on in the dark.

    2) I once tried talking to a woman who was jogging off with her dog, leaving a steaming pile on my parking strip.
    The stream of excuses was quite a wonder to hear.

    3) What’s with the half-way solution of some dog owners: pick the poop up in a bag (typically a blue New York Times wrapper) and then abandon it right where the dog pooped??? Am I missing something? If you just ignored the stuff it would eventually decay/wash away, but encase it in a plastic bag and it’s good for years!

  6. My kid and I take turns walking our two small dogs not wanting bother our neighbors (even if it is irrational) and we almost always bring the poo bags home to our own can. The exception I sometimes make is for the dumpster in front of the apartment building, which I figure no one would feel proprietary towards.

  7. More polls!

    I never place the bags of doggie doo that are generated on our walks in other residents garbage cans.

  8. If you’re going to put your dog’s mess in my trash, first make sure it’s in a clean bag that is closed. Why? Because when the garbage collectors come round and dump my trash, and some unsecured poo falls out of my trash and gets on them/their truck, they think it’s me that just poo’d them. I had a collector who complained a few years ago, and I received a warning from the city (not Seattle) about unsecured dog waste, and could have been fined – and I didn’t have a dog.

    Also, if you put your dogs mess in my trash, make sure you snap the lid back on. Otherwise, I’m the one that gets to clean up the mess (including your dog’s bagged mess) when the raccoons come by and feast on my garbage.

    So long as you follow those two rules, I don’t care what you put in my trash.

  9. The cans might belong to the city, but I pay for the service based on volume and weight. Put your trash in the container you pay for. That said, if anyone has ever dropped their dog waste in my trash can, I haven’t noticed. And if the person were responsible enough to follow Luckier’s rules, I would be hard-pressed to generate any anger. Annoyance, maybe. And fleeting at that. Overall, I appreciate living in a city where dog walkers routinely pick up after their pets.

  10. Let me take this opportunity to thank you for this learning moment that you have shared with us all. I have this now to share. The correct Seattle behavior is to gently pick up the doggy doo and nest it tenderly in your hand until you are home and can discard it properly in your own can if you do not have a bag. Think of it as a special bonding with your pet. You will feel better and so will your neighbors.

  11. I don’t mind if people put their bagged dog poo in my trash BEFORE they pick it up, but it’s when someone throws it in there after. Then their dog poo sits in my can all week. Or worse, they throw it in whatever container is easier (recycling, yard waste, etc). why is it so hard to carry home? it’s not like you’re holding it with your bare hands…

  12. As a condo dweller I certainly don’t mind the bagged dog poop ending up in our dumpster, but some folks in our neighborhood seem to be a little unclear that there are in fact different types of dumpsters. I have on numerous occasions seen bags of poop thrown in our recycling dumpster or even in our yard waste can. Am I supposed to fish those out and dispose of them in the proper way? Yuck!

  13. How about next time you run a poll, not have at a blatantly worded push poll? Otherwise don’t bother.

  14. This is my only pet peeve on the subject! I can’t tell you how many times I find bagged dog crap in my yard waste container. They can’t all be from out-of-town tourists. :O)

  15. We typically take ours home to our own trash unless it is a dumpster out on the street. It isn’t a big deal.

    Oh, and just in case: whoever is walking their dog on 25th between Pike and Union and not cleaning up, please pick up after your dog! We’re tired of picking up someone else’s poop every week…it would be much appreciated!

  16. We once had a neighbor from a few doors down who decided it was okay to let their dog crap in our yard and leave it there. With all the dogs in the neighborhood, at first we didn’t know which dog was pooping in our yard…until one day we were pulling into our garage and actually saw the dog pooping. The owner was around the corner and when I confronted her she said the poop wasn’t from her dog…yet it was literally still steaming (this was on a chilly day). So, we scooped up the poop, put it in a bag and put it on her front porch…followed by a call to Animal Control who told us there were a multitude of complaints against this person for failure to pick up poo. Shortly after this incident, the offending dog owner moved out of the neighborhood.

    On another note…I wonder if the poo in the picture was already in a bag and in the person’s trash can or was it in their yard and they bagged it themselves and put it on the offenders tree (much like we did with by putting the poo on the offenders porch)???

  17. IMO, one of the nice benefits of city trash service is that there are trash/recycling/yard waste cans everywhere, making it easier for everyone to pick up after themselves. I use the nearest can without going on another’s property. Also, most cans are below capacity, I mean no one is having to pay extra because of a bag of dog poo.

  18. My husband is the note writer, but trust me if I ever caught the poo offender I’d tell them to take their poo home to their face, but sadly I’ve never seen the person who likes my can so much. Like another poster I wouldn’t care so much if they put poo in there before the trash man picked up the can, but ick, ick, ick, I don’t want a nasty bag of poo rotting in there for me for a week…. It’s not my dog, I just don’t need to deal with its excriment. No its not really hurting me, but it wouldn’t hurt the dog owner to put it in their own trash either.

  19. How would you feel if your neighbor had filled up their trash can with baby diapers and started leaving one or two dirty diapers in your trash can from time to time? Okay with that?

  20. our can is filled w/stinky diapers *(sorry to our kind waste removal guys) so feel free to put your dog poops in there…but please pick up your druggie bags and cans of steel reserve…

  21. What about the rest of the week when the trashcans aren’t out? If people are carrying home the poop 6 days of the week, why is day 7 so hard?

  22. Thanks Scott! (couldn’t happen anywhere/way else…)

    While I do have a “dog in this fight”, (I walk, pickup, put in others can – sometime the yard waste can :(…

    I’d say we have a pretty good balance from 23rd and Jackson down to the 90. No one’s perfectly satisfied and its pretty clean.

    So I apologize and thank you for cutting me some slack!

  23. Maybe I’m missing something, but why don’t people just bring it back to their own can? It’s already in a plastic bag–is it that hard to carry it back 3 or 4 blocks (or whatever) to your own house?

  24. If a neighbor was taking their baby for a walk, and they decided to change the childs diaper right in front of my house, I’d have no problem with them putting the diaper in my conveniently located garbage. It’s not like I go digging in the garbage for food, why care?

    If, as your rhetorical question suggests, the neighbor took additional work to put their diapers in my garbage (even though their own garbage is closer, more convenient, and perfectly available)… Yeah, that would kind of creep me out, and I’d have a little ‘talk’ with them.

    So, while most people would probably take issue with the situation described in your rhetorical questions, it’s for a different reason: a reason which isn’t really relevant to this discussion.

  25. “I don’t want a nasty bag of poo rotting in there for me for a week…. It’s not my dog, I just don’t need to deal with its excriment.”

    what are you doing with the garbage can that would involve you dealing with the dog’s excrement?

    And to pull the plastic bag out of the garbage and hang it on a tree? and write a note about it? This is a sign that the dog-poop-in-the-garbage-can issue has led to many sleepless nights for you husband. It’s as if he is saying: “Take that, world. this is no longer just my problem. Now, it’s everyone’s problem!!”

    If you are someone that simply likes keeping the garbage can clean and fresh smelling, I would certainly understand, because I do realize that a dog-poo filled trash can generally smells worse than a can which is void of dog-poo. You also have my sympathies, because it sounds like you are situated in a location that makes your garbage can a high-frequency target of opportunity for dog walkers.

  26. If it is bagged and in your can, do you really have to deal with it? Personally, I’d rather someone toss it in my garbage can (bagged) than just leave on my front lawn. I also have a dog, and have occasionally put it in folks’ garbage cans (pretty rarely, since my dog has only ever pooped on walks maybe 5 times), but this is because I usually walk my dog for 2 hours at a time. I’d rather not carry a bag of poop for 2 hours. And it is garbage. It’ll be picked up in a week.

  27. Is plain old courtesy… if its not yours and its not a public item, don’t touch it, even if it is a just a garbage can. It’s an annoyance more than anything – not earth shaking, but as its pretty much a weekly thing it builds on ones nerves and when you find it there yet again, you end up grumpy about it. No one has been losing any sleep, but as said garbage can violater has always escaped being seen to be asked in person to desist, the poo was displayed. It will go back in the garbage can on garbage day, unless someone cares to claim it….. Is it preferable than getting lawn presents – sure, but that’s beside the point as I think people should be responsible enough and polite enough to avoid doing either. As another poster said – you carry the poo home the other 6 days per week, is it so hard to take it home the 7th? If you are on a very long walk you’ll likely come across a public can somewhere.
    If you want really, really rude – its the people who tie their dogs to the bike rack at Safeway, when said funny looking bicycles poop, some owners leaves the lovely little pile right there on the sidewalk – argh!

  28. I’d have to actually see the person who drops the poo to say something…. As I am not a native Seattlite, I have no problems telling people what is on my mind. I have caught someone about to walk away from a fresh and steaming pile on my lawn and made him pick it up. At least I gave him a bag……
    Something tells me that this person likely would not drop their baggies into my can if I were visible – if you wouldn’t do it with someone watching or wouldn’t ask it is OK, hmmmmmmm its unlikely to be OK….

  29. Because I don’t want your poo, I must have a stress problem… I actually find it amusing that with all the things that go on in this neighborhood, some good, some bad, one little bag of poo has generated so much attention. So here goes – Poo Bandit, if you are out there – I am formally asking you to please keep your poo to yourself, I prefer to not have it placed in my garbage can.

  30. I have no problem with dog walkers using my TRASH can, but most often I find the smelly little bags in my RECYCLE can. It is clearly labeled “RECYCLING”. I am supposed to fish them out? NOT OK.

  31. How ’bout next time you post you not be so anal retentive? Otherwise don’t bother. It’s just for fun, ‘k?

  32. Yes, I pick up after my good dog Sam, and have occasionally skulked over to an available can and dumped the dump. “Skulking” is the key word. If I thought I were entirely within my rights to use another’s can I’d not have to skulk, and I understand, no matter what city you’re in, people take the oddest things personally. But, in all the years I’ve used my own can I’ve never noticed a problem in cleanliness or odor. I mean the poop’s bagged, after all. Would I be bothered if some other dog owner dropped their bagged waste into my garbage can? You’ve got to be kidding. Would I hang it from a tree,with a note? Oy.

  33. @ taylor… 3) What’s with the half-way solution of some dog owners…

    YES! I’ve seen that a lot in front of my place. What’s up with that? I think, however, that somone is stashing the bags, then coming back later to throw them away because I rarely see them in the same place for long. It still doesn’t make a lot of sense. Why not take it with you in the first place?

  34. Everyone please unclench your butt cheeks a little. This is not that important of an issue. Be a little relieved that dog owners now pick up the poop instead of leaving it as in the not too distant past. Be a little happy that dog walkers make informal patrols around the neighborhood on a regular basis. Put your energy into worrying about things with real consequences such as pedestrian safety and stray bullets.

  35. Everything matters. Fixing a broken fencepost, painting your garage, keeping after the city to maintain the sidewalks/streets, and embarrassing anyone who lets their animal pollute the public spaces or property of others.. it all matters. A well-kept and proud neighborhood is a better place to live, and visually sets an expectation of conduct to residents and passerby.

    I’m a renter in CD, but I really wish more people would appreciate the place we all live in. Other places I’ve lived don’t have this much litter, unmaintained buildings/houses, or other issues. Soap, water, paintbrushes, and yard equipment are practically free – this is not a issue of class or gentrification.

    I grew up in a working-class neighborhood where people actually had some pride in where they lived, and didn’t rely on the city or a major real-estate developer to do everything for them.

  36. Right on! It’s suprising to me how many folks do not take care of their yard or fence or garbage. Our neighbors hadn’t mowed their or cleaned up their dog poop until everything was dead and they scraped it up. It was a noxious mess! We couldn’t have our porch doors open for fresh air – because let me tell you – there wasn’t anything “fresh” about it.

    This matters and the little things often indicate a bigger problem. Sometimes simple respect is all it takes to make things better. From not peeing on my fence (a dude not a dog) to not doing drugs in my driveway to cleaning up your own darn mess – it’s all about respect.

  37. Couldn’t have said it better myself! I wish I had as much time and energy to even care about dog poop in a trash can. Thank goodness I don’t. Also, thanks Kevin for pointing out the benefits of folks out walking their dogs in the neighborhood, they truly are a benefit to our neighborhood. And as much as I hate to admit it, my husband scolded me the other day for not bringing my phone on my 45 minute walk (where I probably used someone’s trash can for my dog’s poop), so just in case I “saw” anything I could call the cops.

  38. If people keep their property and neighborhood (and occupy it) as if they are deserving of respect, people are more likely to pay that respect. If the outward sign is “I don’t much care”, the signal is obvious.

  39. In relations to the above two posts about trash in the neighborhood, I couldn’t agree more. I encourage both of you to come to the sidewalk and street cleanup the Central District Neighborhood Association will be hosting on April 18th from 10 to noon. Folks will be meeting at 21st and Union (rain or shine) to clean up the garbage and trash in the neighborhood. It will be followed by a community BBQ at Casey Family Programs parking lot at noon. Burgers and hotdogs will be provided, we ask that everyone bring a side dish or dessert to share! Hope to meet both of you there.

  40. To echo this, it would be great to see all the vitriol expressed in this post, on both sides, applied to things that I think everybody would agree are more pressing than f&*&ing bagged dog poo. Like gun shots, closed schools, 60% graduation rates, failing schools, unsafe streets, etc. Sure, everything matters, but equating dilapidated houses with folks who bag dog poo and put it in a can is a big stretch.

  41. Put your energy into worrying about things with real consequences instead of being osessed with complaining about people who don’t want their cans vanalized.

  42. Thank you for posting the clean-up information. Will there be other days? I’m volunteering at Meredith Mathews YMCA for their Healthy Kids Day (also in our neighborhood) that day. I love this site b/c of the community expressed here and would love to meet more folks.

  43. Kevin, a sense of humor, please… You’ve got to get a kick out dog poop generating the most comments ever seen in n’hood news.

  44. healthy neighborhoods also means healthy kids. and picking up gargage is exercise, no? bring the kids:-)! cappy’s gym is using the pick up as a training experience.

  45. I’m a dog owner fortunate enough to have a yard, but its a small one and I am out there picking it up every day or two and bagging it and putting it in my very small garbage “box.” We have a problem here with irresponsible dog owners in Seattle and it is a growing one. While I am glad they pick it up as much as they do there should be no depositing of the dog waste in someone else’s trash receptacle–its messy and possible toxic regardless what type of bag it is in. I often carry my dog’s waste all the way home with me unless there is an official garbage can–city owned not private.

    The bus stop around the corner from me had a METRO garbage can mounted front of it for three months thanks to my excellent neighbor’s request..the area around it had become a dumping ground for everything from cig butts to cups and bottles, and fast food wrappers. ALl that went away with the stop-mounted garbage can my neighbor volunteered to maintain. Unfortunately the dog walkers around 34th and Howell proceeded to FILL the can with bags of dog waste causing a repugnant situation–particularly when it rained and some of the waste liquefied and leaked all around the stop. The neighbor requested its removal and now some, but not all of the trash has returned.

    There’s a large dog and cat feces problem here in Puget Sound–every time it rains shortly thereafter a large spike in animal fecal pollution shows up–the irresponsible dog (and cat) owners are partly to blame for this.

  46. I have to confess….that stuff in the bag….well, it’s not dog poo. It’s a long story, involving tacos, a little bit of drinking, and mother nature’s calling. You see, I just couldnt make it home to do my business, and had to drop the kids off at the pool, so to speak. Couldnt wait, so I had to make do…so I pulled over, and ducked into those bushes on 22nd. Luckily there was a plastic bag in my car from some trail mix I had bought from the bulk section at Whole Foods – so I gently picked up my droppings and not knowing what else to do, I put them in the closest receptacle I could find.

    I’m not sure if this changes the spirit of the note – is it just Dog Poo that they object to, or all forms of poo? Again, deepest apologies to you, Mr NoteWriter…

  47. You jest, but it has been known to happen….. I don’t have any cover in my front yard, so I have not been graced by these types, but I have seen public urination a plenty and even some public defecation… and generally they don’t bag it.

    My yard has been visited by one of our local ladies of pleasure…. my husband happened to be home one day and heard the hose outside come on. When he looked out the back door low and behold there was a woman having a bit of a bath in our back yard. Eeeeew………..

  48. If you want to meet more neighbors, come to the free plant exchange at the SE corner of 20th & Union, 10am-2pm, Saturday May 16th. If you have plants to share, great. If not, no problem, you do not have to bring plants in order to take plants. There will be free veggie starts this year: peas, beans, cukes, squash, beets, tomatoes, and herbs – so far.

    You may also bring gardening questions, your kids (get ’em young and train ’em), houseplants, pots, tools, any usable garden supplies, treats to share, favorite recipes, fliers and/or sign-up sheets for your next community activity, or any item that supports cheerful, community-building activities. We do have fun and lots of laughter at these plant exchanges.

  49. i was not jesting…that was my poo, and I want it back! i saw some hipsters in pencil point jeans peeing at 12:00 midnite – not a holocal ladie of pleasure. so dont be so discrimiatrory. and the hipsters left a couple of cans of foster’s and a new belgiium bottle on my sidewalk – i live about 1 block away from yoo…. i recognized your nbeighbors fabulous landscaping from the picts.

    everyone’s got to go sometimes – so i cut them some slack. it’s just pee. or poo.

    i really really really have a hard time empathizing with your objection to putting trash (bagged pooo) in the trash can – there’s been a few times i’ve picked up bottles and cans from your yard and put them in the recylcing container (yours…) ….was that wrong too?? should i have left it there?

    oh, these are deep deep questions. worthy of plato .


  50. Don’t ask why – but I found this blog quite by accident and decided to comment if you don’t mind. I live in Southwest FL where it is hot & humid. Often the stench of garbage can permeate a plastic bag, requiring the resident to clean it. This includes dog poo. Be grateful they use bags! No kidding – one of my former neighbors just tossed it in the can. So now I only wheel my trash cans to the curb late in the evening before my scheduled pickup. I have to agree with those who say to respect the property of others and take your own trash and your own dog’s poo home.

  51. Thanks Arch. Yes, this thread has proven very interesting and I had been looking for the legal answer. I lived in Ohio for many years and the summers there are sweltering, and even though that weather is rare here when it comes you can tell what cans are frequent receptacles for dog feces–the bags break or tear often. The first place I lived in Seattle had this problem of the unholy summer-smelling garbage can (it was just on an unfortunate popular crap corner in Queen Anne (where the residents can do no wrong) and my locking of the cans resulted in dog feces being left in front of my house on an almost daily basis. The solution is asking the owners to pick up and carry home their dog’s waste–its a city that is getting less green and more dirty every year or so, and these folks–even though they do not think it–are contributing to this. Everything matters, it is all connected, a thousand little things can improve the quality of life in our town many fold.

  52. Yes, it may be in a knotted plastic bag, but most of the grocery bags have vent holes for child safety. Guess what? That translates to leakage in my trash container. And all too often the poo bag is deposited in my container after it has already been emptied by the sanitation workers. So it ends up sitting in my container which is stored in my garage all week. In hot weather, I end up with poo soup in the bottom of the can. NICE. Take it home with you- like your dog… it belongs to you.

  53. If your’re that particular about it, then put a lock on your trash container and un-lock it on trash collection days. Otherwise, STFU!! It’s a dog, for god’s sake- not human remains!

  54. It costs money for trash, and that dog shit is taking up space. Not to mention nobody likes cleaning up after other people, especially their dogs, so STFU STFU STFU!!!!

  55. But it is only on trash collection days that the trash container is outside–and people put their little bags in AFTER the trash is picked up. So it’s in my trash container all week, unless I want to clean up after someone else’s dog.
    Rude and inconsiderate. And the garbage guys only pull big bags out of the container–so your little bags stay in there.