Dog Poo and Racial Epithets, Oh My.


More pleasant than a broom, but that's just me

Well, THIS is an interesting feature on TBD– the “Neighbor Hall of Shame“. I’m extra interested in this story for a few reasons– I think D.C.’ers need to be more neighborly, it involves “shame” and it has to do with dog poo. As the proud caretaker of a poky little puppy, I deal with such foulness at least twice a day…but at least I dispose of it properly, unlike this Hill East resident:

Handley accuses a neighbor in the 1700 block of Massachusetts Ave. SE, directly across the rear alley from him, of regularly sweeping his dog’s feces out of his back yard and into the alley. “This is his standard practice and has been going on for years,” Handley says. “What he tends to do is sweep it out there, and then maybe later he’ll take a hose and flush it down the alley.” The situation gets even worse in the summer months, Handley says, when “you really smell it.”

It’s a mind-boggling neighborhood issue on number of levels. So many questions come to mind. Is it really more work to pick up the poop and dispose of it properly than it is to grab a broom and start sweeping? Does this guy use that broom inside his house?

For Handley, it’s almost like this neighbor is sweeping out his poo just to be “nasty.” And he’s got reason not to be particularly anxious to have a conversation with the guy about it. A previous encounter, during which Handley complained to the same neighbor about leaving his dog, who barks a lot, out in the back yard all night and all day, led to some rather unpleasant exchanges. “He and his mom came out and cursed me out with a whole string of racial epithets,” he says. Another time, Handley says the guy threatened to dump water on him.

I don’t understand. It HAS to be more work to sweep, sweep, sweep feces out of a back yard than it would be to just pick up the poop the way the rest of us do. It sounds as if this is more about antagonizing neighbors than dog-waste disposal; I’ll confess that I don’t know exactly how gentrified this block is, but I can’t help but wonder about how much issues like race and class are involved.

The situation is unfortunate and unhealthy…it also makes the rest of us dog-lovers look bad, too. No wonder I get screamed at on Irving, if I take more than a few seconds to unfurl one of those impossible to open-poop bags.