Is it just me, or does it seem like there are an awful lot of piles to dodge while negotiating the streets and parks of our naked city?

You'd think that our beloved four-legged friends (there is a pretty cute three-legger in my neighborhood) were taking to the sidewalks and grasslands by themselves. If that were the case, I wouldn't be complaining. After all, it wouldn't be fair to expect a dog to pick up after itself, because they don't really think that there's anything wrong with crap; I happen to know a number of dogs that actually prefer the taste.

While I do see plenty of leash-less pups on my tours with and without my little formerly all-black, now mostly gray doggie, their humans are always nearby. (As an aside, when I lived in Miami, I saw strays daily, no doubt because the climate allows animals to live outdoors all year, something that is inconceivable up north.)

It must mean that many of you humans simply don't care enough about the world you live in to pick up after your pooch. The abject self-centeredness of those of you who must think that your dog's stuff don't stink has long been hard for me to wrap my mind around (though I admit that when I inhabited a place without a law requiring me to bend over and scoop after the deed was done -- by the way, I had five dogs at one point in my life -- I often did little more than try to convince whichever mutt I was accompanying to at least not let loose directly in front of a neighbor's house).

What caused me to spring into action was reading the obit in today's New York Times about one Fran Lee, aged 99, who died on February 13th (my birthday; the juxtaposition of dog crap, my birthday and her death was too much to let pass without comment). It turns out that one of Fran's major accomplishments, if not the accomplishment, was to goad our city fathers and mothers into enacting the Canine Waste Law.

Also known as the "pooper scooper law," it became the law of our land on August 1, 1978. I'd often pondered just when the requirement to not just let what happens there, stay there came into being (which, I would agree, says an awful lot about me), but never bothered to use my well-honed legal skills -- or Google -- to figure it out.

Judging by the amount of canine end product I see each day (I live on West 72nd Street, a stone's throw from the slightly larger-than-life statue of Eleanor Roosevelt that stands sentinel at the same-numbered street's entrance to Riverside Park), I can't even imagine what the natives had to do to keep from having shoes caked in crap during the days of "Dog Day Afternoon," "The French Connection," "Shaft" and "The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3."

Who are you people who simply feel that you are too busy/important/germ-phobic/lazy or whatever to do the right thing? It's not like the rest of us like to use our hands to pick up shit, particurlarly because it's not even our own. Having had my share of brushes with human waste when my twins were much younger, it may be true that one can develop a resistance to being physically ill when handling the stuff, but at the end of the day, it's still shit, and no one likes to touch it (well, some people do, and very much so at that, but that's a very different thing).

Seriously, if you don't clean up after your dog, you're an idiot. No, that's not right. You're a piece of, well, you know.


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