What To Do About the Doo?
Life in lovely Nantucket should not involve constant dog doo surveilance. We shouldn't have to look at dog doo, we shouldn't have to smell it, and by all means, we shouldn't have to step in it. Anywhere. Not in our playgrounds where our kids want to roam free, unfettered by health hazards brought on by lazy pet owners. Not along the bike paths either, where we should be free to stop and smell the flowers, or pick the berries where they grow. Not on the beaches. And certainly not along the wild paths that cut through conservation land, where this year I have begun to see it dangling from the trees in black baggies, as if someone is trying to mark a path by which to find their way home.
And yet. Here we are, folks. Our unmatched island, known for its pristine beaches and abundant, protected conservation land, has developed a wicked dog doo problem.
The point was really driven home during my recent two week stint in New York City. That overcrowded city known as much for its filth and rats and pigeons and homeless people (who, with their last shreds of dignity prefer the privacy of urinating in subway elevators to the option of getting hit with a police baton while doing it in the open streets) as much as for its cultural diversity and energy, actually puts Nantucket to shame where the dog doo issue is concerned. I'm not kidding. We were in playgrounds on Roosevelt Island, midtown Manhattan, and Brooklyn-- and not once did I have to change my son's shoes, or even warn him to keep his eye out for ill placed piles of dung. We covered a lot of ground while we there, so inevitably I did spot some transgressions by pet owners while pushing my son around in his stroller. But it really struck me how much less of it I saw on the whole than on my average days with my toddler in our hometown at sea.
Don't get me wrong-- I love dogs. My kid loves dogs. But people wouldn't be too thrilled if I let my kid poop wherever he goes. And many people, especially the parents of small children, don't like it when people let their pets poop wherever they go. It is just gross. And it poses a health risk.
Our first day back at one of our local playgrounds, on Essex Road, my kiddo ended up with stinking fresh poo on the bottoms of both of his shoes. We had to leave, so he wouldn't track it all over the play structures where kids put their hands and feet and knees, where they sometimes like to throw off their flip flops to shimmy up a fireman's pole. My son didn't want to leave, but it was the only respectful choice, since I hadn't thought to throw a spare pair of shoes in the car.
We've all heard the expression, "Don't sh*t where you eat." Well, we all know that our island's beauty is what keeps people coming here, and our visitors are what keep food on our tables. So what are we prepared to do to curb our doo dilemma? Put up more signs, publicizing the $500.00 dollar fine? Put out more bag dispensers along the bike paths and parks? Perhaps get our police to start ticketing people until we can again return to a more civilized norm where we can again begin to expect people to do the right thing? Honestly, the Town could look at paying off some of its debt with some swift action where this is concerned. A five hundred dollar doo ticket, versus a fifty dollar parking ticket. Hmmm....