I am currently witnessing a neighborhood drama that I’m sure plays out on a daily basis in communities across the country.

Neighbor A is originally from Wyoming. This probably means nothing to most of you, but having lived in that state for a while, it conjures up a specific archetype for my family — a person who prefers to keep to him or herself but is friendly when forced into proximity with others and figures that laws perceived to be absurd or overreaching are not worth following. This doesn’t present much of a problem in Wyoming where there are more cows than people and even fewer regulations, but conflicts inevitably develop when the mindset is transferred to the more heavily populated/regulated Front Range of Colorado.

Which brings me to Neighbor B — a retired naval officer. Need I say more?

Neighbor A has several dogs, and as far as I can tell, no leashes. The dogs go to work with various members of the family, and as the pick-up trucks are warming, the dogs take their morning constitutionals over to Neighbor B’s front yard and, shall we say, do their business.

Neighbor B takes great pride in his yard, and rightfully so. He has converted part of his property into model train nirvana and the rest is impeccably landscaped and maintained. There is no place for dog poop in it.

The war that has developed is being fought surreptitiously — or at least I haven’t been around when words and/or blows were exchanged. Neighbor B posts signs, Neighbor A ignores them. Neighbor B kicks poop onto the sidewalk, Neighbor A ignores it. I wouldn’t doubt that the home owners’ association or animal control has been called, but I’m pretty sure of what Neighbor A’s response would be … ignore it. I’m just hoping that this doesn’t result in more aggravation for other dog owners (myself included) in the neighborhood.

Why? Because HOAs, apartment complexes, and the like now have the option of instituting dog waste management programs in which resident dogs must be genetically identified via cheek swabs and registered. Poop piles that are not picked up can then be matched to the offender (assuming they’re from the neighborhood) and the owner fined or otherwise reprimanded for leaving them behind.

Now don’t get me wrong, I pick up after my dog and think everyone else should too, but if my HOA comes knocking on my door, canine cheek swab in hand, I’m not sure what I’ll do. Ignoring them sure seems like a reasonable response… but maybe that’s just an aftereffect of my time in Wyoming.

Has anyone out there had experience with a poop management program like this? Did it result in a cleaner environment or no?


Dr. Jennifer Coates



Image: Neighbor by Taber Andrew Bain / via Flickr