Friday, December 7, 2012

How Do You Get Them to Scoop the Poop?

Mountainous piles of un-scooped dog poop seem to be a problem all over the world.

In the United States, people who keep track of these things estimate that about 40% of American dog owners leave their dog's poop for someone else to pick up.

Poop scooping laws probably make the legislators feel useful but so far haven't had much of an impact on the poop problem.

What about signs that tell you to pick it up?

They work well in countries like Japan, where everyone is law-abiding.

A poop that could walk would make it easy!
But then, no country would have a compliance problem if the poop would actually pick itself up and follow you home, as in the poster above.

Where the signs don't work, France for instance, people must come up with other solutions. In Paris, poop collectors used to suck it up as they rode about on their "motocrottes."
A French Motocrotte
In England, unauthorized dog poop falls under the jurisdiction of the anti-terrorist laws and is monitored by the ubiquitous surveillance cameras. Brighton's Dog Control Order, passed in 2009 provides for fines of up to £1,000 for those who don't scoop the poop.A British association called Big Brother Watch found that 345 different town councils had invoked anti-terror laws 9607 times against pooping dogs and other equally heinous criminals 9607 times over a period of 3 years.

Hastings, on the other hand, liked the French idea, and in 2011 purchased four vacuums called "Henry the Hoover."
All vacuum cleaners are called "hoovers" in England.
The verb is "to hoover," as in, "I hoovered the carpet this morning."
The Hastings' Henrys probably look like this: 

The town council estimated that Henry would save them £420,000 a year.

In 2009, there were plans afoot in a small town in Germany to collect fur or saliva from all 420 resident dogs so as to do DNA matching and fine owners of any poop that might be found. 

I can't find any evidence that the scheme ever got off the ground.
DNA testing is starting to gain some traction in the U.S., however. As of August of this year, a company called PooPrints tracks down poopetrators for hundreds of property managers in 30 states.

The town of Petah Tivkah, near Tel Aviv, does DNA testing with a twist. If the poop examiner finds your dog's leavings a a marked receptacle, you get a reward--coupons for dog food or toys.

You get a reward for putting it here, a fine if you leave it on the street.

If he finds it anywhere else, you get a fine.

But sometimes, if the government fails to take action, and the private sector fails to see any financial incentive for collecting poop, you just have to take the law into your own hands. This is Super Vaclav.

He is Prague's self-appointed dog poop enforcer. If he sees your dog poop, and you don't pick it up, he will punish you by throwing it at you or smearing it on you. I doubt whether he is still active, but videos of him from 2011 are widely available.

Does anyone have any other ideas?

Could Your Dog Learn to Drive?

In case you weren't watching the news lately, 3 dogs in New Zealand have learned to drive a car.It only took 8 weeks for the dogs to learn, which wasn't as long as it took me.
Porter, Monty, & Ginny all know how to drive
They'll be demonstrating their skills on live TV on Monday, December 10 (which is probably Sunday for us). They're not quite ready for the Indy 500 yet. Their specially modified Mini will only go about 6 miles an hour, and their trainer has an "off" button in case they try to ram the camera man.

Still, I'm impressed. I can't even manage to train Caitlin to bring her squeaky chicken back to me, much less chauffeur me to the dog park.
The canine motorists are a publicity stunt dreamed up the the SPCA* in Auckland as a way to get more pets adopted. They shouldn't have any problem getting these particular dogs adopted, but considering how much it must have cost to train them and retrofit the Minis that they're driving, the cost per adoption has got to be pretty high.

*Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Cyanide at Harry Griffen Park

I'm seriously concerned about the plan to poison all the gophers with cyanide, which will apparently be ongoing through February 28.

I agree that there are a lot of gophers, and maybe they're a problem.

But using cyanide to kill them in a park where children play and dogs come, not only to the dog run, but all over the park?
Is killing the gophers worth his life?
They say they won't use poison near the dog run or the children's playground.

That doesn't satisfy me. All it takes is one parent or one dog owner who didn't see the notice and lets a child or pet loose in the wrong area, and we have a tragedy.

Then there's the :"collateral damage." That would include all the hawks in the park, the heron who comes daily, the skunks, raccoons, coyotes, and possums who use the park at night when we're not there. Not to mention any neighborhood cats who may hunt in the park.

Do all the neighbors around the park know about this plan? I bet not. Has everyone who frequents the park read the notices?

I think that using cyanide here is a really bad idea. I'm going to let the city council, the Parks & Recreation Department, and anyone else I can think of know my opinion, and if you agree with me, I hope you will, too.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Dogs at Harry Griffen Park--Wadan

This handsome dog is Wadan.

He is a one-year-old Formosan Mountain Dog, Until Novemer 11 of this year, he was living wild on the streets in a mountainous region near Taipei, where his most important task was avoiding the dogcatcher.

His owner, Mary Burns, says he's terrified of white, boxy vans, so she called her contact in Taiwan, who verified her suspicion. The dogcatcher drives a white, boxy van.

Wadan is gentle and playful with other dogs, but he's still very nervous around most people, especially men. Mary obviously adores him, and appears to be adored in return.

Considering that he was a feral dog less than a month ago, Wadan is doing very well indeed. It's lucky for everyone that he managed to evade that boxy white van.
Wadan has generated a lot of interest at the dog park. If Mary should ever decide she doesn't want him any more (fat chance!), I think he'd have volunteers lined up to take him.