Why can’t a dog poop in the woods?

Credit: MaxPixel

Dear Paws: I enjoy simple pleasures in life. Two of those are“Tidbits” and your Paws Corner columns in my local newspaper. I was particularly interested in the reply to the couple asking about their doggie “Trip’s” adventures with them into state parks. What are the preferred actions to take where a hound is in a state park and leaves “deposits” somewhere? Is it the owner’s responsibility to collect said deposit and carry it to wherever the nearest refuse container may be found? I love dogs and realize certain chores should be carried out in regard to responsible ownership. Sign me – Woof!

Dear Woof: You’re absolutely right—it is the owner’s responsibility to clean up after his or her dog. Even in a state park, where one would think that, heck, wild animals can poop wherever they want and leave it, why can’t my dog?

There are a number of reasons why it’s not just a good idea to clean up after your dog—it’s a rule in most parks. First and foremost, you and your dog are usually hanging out in the same areas that everyone else frequents. Other dogs, people and small children roam those same trails, play in the same areas. Nobody wants to roll in a dog’s leavings. (Except other dogs, but let’s not get into how owners feel about finding THAT in their dogs’ coats.)

Before going into a park, review the rules for that park regarding dogs. For example, California’s state parks do not (in most cases) allow dogs on the beach, “for sanitary reasons.” Dogs are restricted from some trails, and they have to be on a leash at all times during the day.

Even if a park doesn’t have strict rules, being a good neighbor by picking up after your dog helps breed goodwill—and can keep restrictive rules from being enacted in the first place.

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