Here’s the poop:

Published 7:50 am Saturday, March 7, 2009

By Staff
Dog owners responsible
for their own animals
It seems the Washington Daily News’ story about Washington Park dog poop generated some controversy — as we knew it would. Judging by the recent rash of Sound Off comments on the matter, many of you thought the story not worth our front page.
For all of you who evidently figured we pulled the story out of thin air (or off freshly mowed grass, whatever you prefer), know this: We pursued the article because readers had spent much of the past two weeks calling in Sound Off comments about the controversy.
The dispute went something like this: Washington Park dogs — of which there are many — were routinely leaving their calling cards on neighbors’ lawns. And as if that weren’t aggravating enough, the neighborhood’s residents were stepping in the stuff and becoming mad enough to call Sound Off about it.
All of that brouhaha got us to thinking about dog-owner etiquette, so we thought we’d offer our own guidelines.
Here’s the poop:
1.) Our dogs are our responsibility. If they’re allowed to roam loose day or night, chances are they’ll mess up somebody else’s property. We must ensure our dogs are trained well enough to stay on our property — as many of them in Washington Park seem to be — or we should fence our yards to enclose them or keep them inside.
2.) If our dogs poop while we walk them, it’s our responsibility to scoop the poop and dispose of it properly. Dog owners who fail to pick up their animals’ feces — leaving it for their neighbors to take care of — shouldn’t be allowed to own dogs. Period.
3.) Freely roaming dogs also cause other problems: Though most of them in Washington Park — yellow Labrador retrievers primarily — seem to be more bark than bite, they can be a nuisance to walkers, joggers, bicycle riders, drivers and others. Nobody on public streets should have to fend off snarling dogs, and that applies especially to children and the elderly.
Dogs are wonderful companions, and most dog owners love them as members of their families. It behooves all of us to adequately care for them and ensure they don’t cause problems for others.