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The scoop on pet poop

George M shared with us:

So, we have a new dog – six-month-old German Shepard. Took her to the Church Hill dog park – below Chimborazo park – today (1st time) to discover lots of poop not picked up. I picked up 8 bags before I ran out of bags! I’m very sensitive to this as our dog contracted Parvo early on but survived (Huge shout out to Church Hill Animal Hospital!) Is this normal for the park? Dog parks are another great way to meet neighbors. However, I don’t think we will be hanging out there if it is frequented by owners who have little regard for the health and well being of all dogs who visit the park.

Editor’s Note: For a more in depth look at this issue, we asked a guest writer, Emily, to write up some commonly overlooked issues associated with pet waste. Emily is a Richmond native and fellow animal lover 3 rescue dogs of her own.  She is passionate about animal and community welfare.


So what’s with all the poo, my doggo-loving Church Hill neighbors? Lingering doo is a poor representation of our generally dog loving and welcoming community. Being a pooper scooper isn’t just a responsibility of dog ownership for the sake of politeness or the salvation of shoes. It’s imperative to our local water quality, human and animal health, and a legal obligation.

Pet waste is picked up in storm water, which goes into the James River without getting treated and is a large contributor the high bacteria counts that are found in many Richmond streams, according the the Richmond Department of Public Utilities’ website. It is also can spread disease to humans and animals alike. Some diseases and parasites may become more infectious the longer the doo ages or can linger in contaminated dirt for a year or more. Note that dog poop also does not act as fertilizer; a relatively common misconception.

It’s understandable that getting caught without bags can happen. However, solutions to keep in mind: there are a few pet waste stations in the area with poop bag dispensers. I have often found these either empty, such as the one pictured from Chimborazo Park this weekend, or kindly restocked with neighbor-provided plastic grocery bags. Otherwise, scavenging for surrounding litter to use as makeshift receptacles (plastic bags, coffee cups, chip bags, etc.), can provide some bonus pup sniffing enrichment and neighborhood cleanup in a pinch, as I can attest! Although, the potential hazards and applicable laws pertain to pest waste on all property, including your own.

Anyone with more clever cleanup ideas or willing to fess up to dump and run scenarios?

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Neighbs 03/30/2018 at 7:13 AM

This and the ever-present sidewalk chicken bones throughout the city drive me crazy.

R Parks 03/30/2018 at 7:21 AM

Community members have added bag dispensers conveniently attached to many telephone poles around the chimborazo dog park to help aid the effort. If your ever down there and find these empty, please feel free to refill them! They take the standard dog bag rolls.

Also, thanks to whoever put them up in the first place!

Eric S. Huffstutler 03/30/2018 at 7:53 AM

People tend to also forget that it is illegal to leave it behind and has a fine attached.

Richmond Code §10-86

Animal Waste

You are responsible for removing waste deposited by your pets on public or private property, including your own property. A pooper-scooper or a plastic bag may be used to remove waste. The waste must be placed in a plastic bag and in a container that is rat proof and air tight.

Contact Richmond Animal Care and Control at 646-5573. Violation of this ordinance is a Class 4 misdemeanor ($250 fine).

WarGib 03/30/2018 at 8:46 AM

I think this would be less of an issue if there were more trash cans around to put the said poop in. A classical example is Mt. Crapmore- the ‘park’ on the corner of 21st and Franklin. The place used to have a city trash can, that was replaced with a Parks and rec. green can, that magically disappeared after a few weeks. So now the green space is a wasteland of poop, bagged and unbagged.

Eric S. Huffstutler 03/30/2018 at 8:54 AM

@4 WarGib

And, who is going to empty those trash cans which will fill up quicker than weekly supercan pick ups? The city can’t mow grass, trim trees, clean streets so, do you think they will empty trash cans on a regular basis around the community?

Lora Toothman 03/30/2018 at 9:18 AM

The dog park and the tree wells are pretty disgusting- I’d be terrified of parvo if I had a puppy. As it stands, one of our dogs is a dedicated coprophage, and oh my god am I tired of cleaning up other dogs’ poop so ours doesn’t snack on it. As far as there not being enough trash cans around, carry it until you find one. That’s what plastic bags are for.

Michael Nesossis
Michael Nesossis 03/30/2018 at 10:48 AM

Some are just lazy and/or inconsiderate.

Another neighbor 03/30/2018 at 2:27 PM

Despite signs and asking politely, I have a neighbor who still let’s their dog run off leash on the street, poop in the empty lot nearby and not pick it up. They even go so far as to carry an empty bag, to make it look like they will pick up, only doing so if someone is there to witness….otherwise yard mines are left for us to find later. Picking up after a pet is a part of owning an animal and just as importantly, being a good neighbor.

Resident 03/30/2018 at 6:23 PM

I live on a corner and my trash can gets so many bags of poop. It stink. They fall out , break, get tons of maggots in the summer. You all should take your dogs mess to your house. And keep them on a leash. I love dogs btw. I’m just not as inconsiderate or unaware as some . Thanks for picking it up at least. But please spare my can

Eric S. Huffstutler 03/30/2018 at 7:31 PM

@8 Another neighbor… So True and Well Said!

Raymond R. Kilburn Jr.
Raymond R. Kilburn Jr. 03/30/2018 at 11:25 PM

We need the little bag dispensers on every other corner.

another neighbor 03/31/2018 at 4:28 PM

I didn’t realize some of y’alls trashcans were getting so nasty, from now on I’ll be more mindful. As for the all the people not picking up after their dogs, I really hope someone brings some real consequences to breaking the rules. I hope you get fined if you’re doing this. I have a dog and like they said above even without a bag you can use your surroundings or god forbid come back to pick up the mess with a bag. There’s really no excuse. And I would also like to stop seeing loose dogs especially when we’re all so close to the dog park. Number one its dangerous. Your dog could get spooked or see a squirrel and run into the street. There’s just so many things you can’t control and as an owner its your job to protect your pet. Number two, not everyone is okay or feels comfortable around dogs. There are a lot of people in this area that are afraid of dogs. You literally have your own dog park and yet you have to take over public space.

Tula's mom 06/14/2018 at 8:34 AM

Dog poop manners! They have those nice little clip on containers that hold rolls of poop bags, buy one!
So simple to clean up after puppy. Ill mannered dog owners make the rest of us look bad. Doggies poopoo is all yours take ownership of it!


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