"Aren't you going to pick that up?"
The question came on a casual Saturday afternoon, shortly after I got my dog in Columbus. The problem? The mysterious pile of poop didn't belong to my dog. But someone was convinced it did.
So I nervously shifted my feet, desperate to avoid a nasty public confrontation. To make matters worse, I was out of garbage bags and a public dispenser was nowhere in sight.
Now, nearly seven years later, I'm writing about dog poop.
I couldn't miss the opportunity after reading a recent New York Times article detailing how one town in Spain handles people who refuse to clean up after their dogs. They send the offender a box of dog poop.
The covert process would probably never last in Columbus, but it brings up some valid discussions. The aforementioned article generated nearly 400 comments, spanning a mix of opinions.
They range from this:
"This is an excellent awareness campaign. Dog owners that don't pick up after their dogs need to somehow realize that they are being watched. Maybe that will make them more responsible."
"Any owner that does not pick up after their dog (with 100% of the refuse cleaned away) should be criminally charged as if they themselves were the ones who defecated. Since our jails are too crowded, the punishment should be an escalating fine. $500 for the first offense. $1,000 for the 2nd. For the 3rd, your dog gets taken away from you permanently."
I've heard the topic surface in local conversations, too. For what it's worth, Columbus has a city ordinance addressing pet owners' responsibly to "promptly" remove fecal matter from "public ways or private property."
Does everyone follow that ordinance? Heck no.
So here's the question: Do you speak up when you see someone failing to pick up his/her pet waste in public?
What's the best solution to the problem? Should we shame the offenders by putting them on Facebook and YouTube? Should the city set up more waste removal stations? Tell me what you think.