There’s a scourge upon our land, and it’s not Asian long-horned beetles, Ebola or the Boston 2024 Olympics movement.
It’s dog poop.
Recent warm temperatures and spring rain have uncovered these odiferous landmines in my Jamaica Plain neighborhood, particularly Franklin Park. The city plowed the walking paths there this winter, to the surprise and delight of abutting neighbors such as myself, but nothing good comes free—during the months of January, February, and March, dog owners and dog walkers have descended upon the park in droves and left enough feces behind to fertilize the state of Nebraska. I’m a dog-owner myself, and I dutifully pick up my dog’s duty. At times, when I’ve stepped in my tenth pile in as many minutes, I feel as though I am in the minority.
The City of Boston’s dog-fouling ordinance requires dog owners to remove and dispose of dog waste, and violation carries a fine of $50. The rule impossible to enforce, of course. New DNA testing services could potentially match the DNA of a poop sample to a dog whose DNA sequence is entered in a database. It might work in a condo association, but good luck getting cheek swabs from the tens of thousands of dogs living in Boston. Your hands are going to get very damp, if not bitten off entirely.
To be fair, I believe irresponsible dog-walkers are the worst offenders, but they’re not easy to confront. Many of them are even better at biting off hands than dogs.
I’ve been on the lookout for a new job and I’m offering the city a simple, inexpensive and satisfying solution to the problem. Imagine an irresponsible dog-owner sauntering along one of the many paths in Franklin Park, his dog trotting alongside. The dog stops to make a deposit while the owner watches, perhaps pausing to toss a cigarette butt or candy wrapper onto the ground before moving on. Wearing camouflaged hunter’s gear that conveniently matches her green eyes, the City of Boston’s official Poop Patrolwoman hides behind a rhododendron. As the dog-walker passes, she reaches into her bag of dog poop with a gloved hand, places a lump in the cup of her slingshot, draws back the elastic and fires. By the time the target has finished swearing and wiping the excrement off of his North Face jacket, she is gone, melted into the shadows. Chastened, the owner rushes home to throw his jacket into the wash and contemplate the error of his ways.
My commitment to the cause is strong enough that I am content to work for minimum wage. I am submitting my résumé soon. For the good of the community, I hope I am hired.