I can’t believe I am actually going to do this, but, here goes. Let’s talk about poop. Specifically, dog poop. As many years as I have been working with HOA’s, I am still amazed that this topic is probably the #1 complaint at HOA meetings and to our management companies – dog owners not picking up after their dogs. In a previous community, I actually helped produce a video about picking up after your pets!! And, I am not sure why this is – other than the weather is nice and people are out and about more – but there seems to be more and more complaints recently and it is causing a great deal of stress and strife in some of our neighborhoods. Not to mention the neighbor to neighbor relationships that are deteriorating.
It seems like it would be the easiest problem to correct. However, human behavior is fickle and uncontrollable. Many years ago when I first started my career in public administration, a very wise supervisor told me … “you can’t legislate stupidity”. And that has really turned out to be true.
Here are some of the reasons that we really need to pick up after our pets.
- It’s just gross – plain and simple. We have a wonderful, walkable community here but going for walk only to step in poo or smell poo that has been left behind does not make for a pleasant stroll around the neighborhood.
- It’s really, really rude. Many people leave their dog’s waste in neighbor’s yards. Let’s all be good and thoughtful neighbors and not let our dogs do their business in someone else’s yard. We are Viera and we can do better.
- An average size dog dropping produces 3 billion fecal coliform bacteria. When left on the ground, this bacteria ends up in our stormwater ponds and, eventually, the St. John’s River. Excess nutrients promote the growth of algae and can also consume oxygen in the water, killing fish and other aquatic creatures.
- Observations of people walking their pets in public areas show that men are less likely to pick up after their dogs than women.
- A national survey showed that 38% of dog owners don’t pick up after their pets.
- America’s 89.7 million dogs produce 22,425 tons of waste each day!!
- Ingesting water contaminated with coliform bacteria can make people ill, causing diseases such as giardiasis and salmonella. The feces also can contain hookworms, roundworms and other parasites that can be spread to adults and children walking barefoot or playing in the grass near dog waste.
I understand that I am falling on so many deaf ears. This has been and will continue to be an issue in Viera and everywhere else in the country. However, I am going to appeal to the “better angels of our nature” and hope that everyone tries a little harder to do the right thing and pick up after their dog.
So, until next time, please remember … “Every dog must have his day.” (Jonathan Swift).
Eva M. Rey, President
Central Viera Community Association, Inc.