COLUMN: Are you picking up what I’m putting down?

While I appreciate the passion, photo evidence isn’t necessary

Today’s topic is one I’ve been sitting on for a while.

That’s mostly because I’m not sure how much I can say without running afoul of a few of our more passionate letter writers.

I’m definitely going to have to watch my step with this one.

Yep, I’m talking about turds.

More specifically, dog turds.

Without letting a lot of words go to waste, I will say that I do know what they look like – I can recognize a sidewalk grenade when I see one.

So, while I appreciate the enthusiasm, I really don’t need photographic evidence that some people are failing to pick up after their pets on the promenade.

Seriously, please stop sending me pictures of dog poop.

And, yes, I realize that simply by typing that (admittedly bizarre) sentence, I have probably invited upon myself a veritable shih tzu-storm. Scrolling through my email on Monday will no doubt be an unpleasant journey.

It’s not clear why people have felt compelled to take the photos, never mind go to the trouble of sending them. Are they expecting to see them published as a photo gallery? And I know I’m not the only one receiving them.

Imagine if people were still required to walk into a drug store or photo-mart with a roll of film and then face the judgmental gaze of the employee handing them their envelope of developed poop-pics. There would, I’m sure, be far fewer of the images making their way to in-boxes across the city.

Alas, this is the digital age and so it’s become a simple matter of point … click … send … disgust.

If it’s a matter of credibility, let me just say that I do believe you. Anywhere that dogs and their humans congregate, you’re going to find that some of those people aren’t picking up where their pets leave off.

It is most certainly a very small number who are making things tough for the majority of responsible pet owners.

But as we all know, when it comes to poop, a little goes a long way – especially when it’s stuck to the bottom of some poor sucker’s shoe.

Ever since the issue of dogs on the promenade first reared its head, we’ve received dozens of letters from readers arguing both sides of the issue.

And I’ve been accused by people on both sides as been biased for the other. Which, frankly, I take as a good sign.

For the record, I love dogs. I don’t have one, but I think, generally speaking, they’re better creatures than any of us deserves.

But I also get that not everyone feels the same way. It might be allergies or fears, or perhaps they’re just not a dog person.

Of course, it is up to the people who bring their dogs to the promenade – or anywhere they’re permitted in public, for that matter – to do their utmost to be considerate of all living things.

In addition to pet owners making a point of picking up after their dogs and ensuring they are well-behaved, the city needs to do its part and strictly enforce the rules they’ve set. They also owe it to both sides, once this trial period is over, to really listen to feedback from all parties before deciding whether to make it a permanent change, not just treat it as a fait accompli.

Granted, it is a bit of a sticky situation, and with so much snarling on both sides right now, it’s tough to get a clear picture of where this one is going to land.

Brenda Anderson is editor of the Peace Arch News.

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