You Can’t Hide Now (Source: Paul Kidd via flickr)
Let’s make one thing clear, it is not the fault of dogs that their waste litters our streets. It is the fault of the owners. Their irresponsibility degrades the quality of life in streets across the city and what’s worse is that is encourages others to shirk responsibility as well. The issue has angered people to such an extent that a company has sprung up that tests a dog’s DNA to track it back to the negligent owner in question.
This idea is not a new one. Way back in 2010, we noticed that residents in Park Slope, fed up with their own dog waste problems, suggested doing this very thing, mainly as a joke. Well, according to a report in the Huffington Post, the joke has become real and PooPrints, created by BioPet Vet Lab, offers services to housing complexes and developments that have a desire to make dog DNA swabbing a requirement for residents.
So basically, if a community employs PooPrints and a pile of dog waste is found, they can then track it back to the owner and issue them a fine of anywhere from $150-$1,000. The service, which operates in 33 states, has not yet come to New York City.
Some think the issue it is a victimless crime only affecting schlubs unlucky enough to step in a pile. As we’ve previously reported, besides lowering the quality of life in our neighborhoods, unattended dog waste on the streets is total hazard for the disabled, especially those using wheelchairs that they push with their hands.
A Roosevelt Island blog is suggesting that they should be the testing ground for this new service, as their community has had a big problem with dog waste. The reality is that unattended dog waste is a problem that most New Yorkers have to deal with and I wonder how upset privacy advocates would react to the service if it ever did become prominent citywide.
Traffic chaos on Ocean Avenue and Avenue M.
Recently, Mayor Bloomberg delivered his final “State of the City” address, which ended up serving as a cheery look back on all the accomplishments of the mayor’s career. The New York Times described it as “an unabashed and relentless tribute to his own municipal stewardship.” The Times thought it would be fitting to gather personal responses from readers on the “state of their blocks” to see if Bloomberg’s optimistic description of the city matched their own experiences.
While the results hardly matched the sunny picture Bloomberg painted, many were optimistic over the changes brought to Fort Greene, Washington Heights and Oakland Gardens in Queens. Closer to our area, Times reader “David” painted a grimmer picture, describing his block in Midwood in a harsh light:
Avenue L between Ocean Avenue and East 19th Street, Midwood, Brooklyn
The state of my block is unfortunately terrible. Since the peak of the market that brought me here in 2006 from Manhattan, the quality of life on this block in Brooklyn has only declined. Ocean Avenue is a raceway with little to no regard to the speed limit, or red lights; I have witnessed countless accidents. Avenue L is one of the few east/west two-way streets from Ocean Parkway, and therefore a thoroughfare of endless honking, radio blasting, and again little regard for the color and meaning of the traffic lights; only double-parked cars seem to slow down some. Real or ill-gotten handicapped placards show in every car window that disregards alternate-side parking rules, to ensure that the street is never cleaned properly, without threat of receiving a ticket; likewise, parking by a hydrant. Trash accumulates on the street and sidewalks, never to be cleaned by property owners, or the city. Graffiti is ever increasing despite the city program to curb it, as are illegally placed posters and handbills, the rules seemingly ignored and unenforced. Children over the age of 16 and adults careen on bicycles down the sidewalk without warning, especially at night, unseen until the last moment. Those sidewalks are never shoveled by most property owners when snow and ice make it treacherous to walk. That honking, it never ends, it seems obligatory, people honk to say “hi!” – David
I live nearby David’s haunts and I can personally vouch for every gripe he’s got. The sidewalks are littered with trash, dog crap and broken glass. The streets are filled with aggressive drivers, car accidents are a common occurrence, and honking is a major (and extremely annoying) problem — not to mention faulty car alarms getting set off during all hours of the night.
What’s the state of your block? Has it evolved for better or worse during Bloomberg’s reign and what do you attribute the problems to? We’d love to hear your feedback.
Photo courtesy of Albert Dashevky
As we all know, New York City is a huge sprawling megalopolis populated by millions of people with a seemingly infinite amount of streets. These realities make it convenient for many dog owners to not care about cleaning up after their dogs. Well, you should clean up after your dog and not just because it keeps your neighborhoods clean, but because the piles of unattended dog feces creates an unfair obstacle course for those in wheelchairs trying to navigate our streets.
Remember, a lot of wheelchair users still propel their wheels forward with their hands, so if they roll over dog doodie, it becomes a horrible situation for someone just trying to get around town. You can use your imagination.
State Senator Marty Golden, after receiving letters from families of handicapped constituents dealing with this problem, has vowed to take action, according to a press release.
“Those who do not clean up after their dogs destroy the quality of life for all residents, and this letter highlights the impact that it has on our disabled neighbors,” Golden said. “I do hope that these concerns raised in this letter will not be ignored. The next time you are out walking your dog, stop and think for a moment, and pick up after your dog.”
Golden has petitioned the Department of Sanitation to place more signs that remind owners to pick up after their dogs.
The headline here is a tweak of two suggestions that came to us on Facebook, thanks to readers Ben Jonjak and Hillary Stackpole.
How to Provide a Public Service Sheepshead Bay-style
Step one: Use everyday household items to fashion a useful, affordable solution.
Step two: Deface and damage a public utility pole.
Step three: Make sure the neighborhood children learn Brooklynese.
Photo contributor Erica Sherman sent us this nugget late last week. It was taken on Ford Street between Avenue Z and Voorhies Avenue, “a block that is also home to a number of stray cats and the occasional raccoon.”
She adds, “Across the street, where there is a vacant lot, everyone takes their dogs to shit, but no one ever picks it up, so it is a veritable landmine of dog crap. Really disgusting.”
Would you do this on your block?