This is why we don’t use poop in any of our work.
September 12, 2019 2:35 PM   Subscribe

Thousands of property managers in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom are enforcing dog poop surveillance programs to ensure tenants clean up after their dogs or face a stiff fine. This seemingly-trivial practice brings up a larger question: what else will these services be used for? (Sarah Emerson, Medium OneZero)
Unfortunately, opting out of dog DNA testing at your apartment building isn’t usually an option. Tenant laws and regulations are fairly loose about what can be included in a lease, and most property managers who use a program like PooPrints will have renters sign a lease or lease addendum that requires DNA testing. Violating these terms may then become grounds for eviction. (PooPrints even suggests language for these contracts.) In cities like San Francisco, where PooPrints serves roughly 100 properties, and where landlords of rent-controlled apartments need just cause to evict a tenant, lease violations such as dog poop fines can displace people with less recourse.

“When housing providers want to evict tenants to increase rents, especially in below-market-rate apartments, they will find a pretext, and this potentially serves as another pretext,” says Lupe Arreola, executive director of Tenants Together, a California-wide renters’ rights organization.
posted by Johnny Wallflower (40 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
Don't even start, Homo neanderthalensis. This is a serious story, the fact that it's my two favorite subjects notwithstanding.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 2:36 PM on September 12, 2019 [14 favorites]


Thanks for not saying "this begs the question"!
posted by team lowkey at 2:39 PM on September 12, 2019 [7 favorites]


Dang it
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 2:41 PM on September 12, 2019 [2 favorites]


In 2015, the London borough of Barking and Dagenham announced the world’s first citywide implementation of PooPrints.

LOL
posted by CoffeeHikeNapWine at 2:48 PM on September 12, 2019 [5 favorites]


Maybe later. I'm eating curry right now.
posted by KleenexMakesaVeryGoodHat at 3:17 PM on September 12, 2019


The type of people who own a dog and don't pick up after it are the worst type of people out there. Worse than that guy who sits in an aisle seat on the bus when the window seat is empty and somebody has to step over them or ask them to move. Worse even then the guy who decides to clean his windshield in moving traffic in front of your car. THE. WORST.

As far as I'm concerned that class of people should have their own Meghan's Law style map where we can click and see where they live so we can know where this poop is coming from. And they should have their pets taken away and rehomed with caring owners. Assholes.
posted by allkindsoftime at 3:33 PM on September 12, 2019 [29 favorites]


The Fundamental Attributional Error would like to introduce everyone to Fictitious Frank, who hurt his back at his Amazon warehouse job so that it causes him excruciating pain to bend over -- but whose very good dog Selma Dee needs to go out right now. Selma Dee is so good that she will just hold it rather than go indoors, which is how she ended up at the emergency vet last time.

Frank also needs to take his dog out quickly so that he can make it to his nursing home job (he's the afternoon cook, a job he *loves*). Unfortunately, his daughter is a medical intern across the country, and he can't really afford a dog walking service -- he doesn't know what to do! He's a responsible dog owner, and Selma Dee is a rescue he took in last year when he was feeling fine! Selma has serious anxiety issues and was in a shelter for two years -- Frank's afraid there aren't a lot of options, as the shelter is full and isn't taking any more animals right now.

Of course Frank grew up during the 60s and doesn't have a lot of social skills -- that's why he loves Selma Dee so much, but he doesn't have "friends" really. Certainly nobody who could be at his place to walk his dog at the drop of a hat.
posted by amtho at 3:44 PM on September 12, 2019 [11 favorites]


The type of people who own a dog and don't pick up after it are the worst type of people out there.

I would like to include the owners of free range cats in this category. Yesterday I worked peat into a bed I'm getting ready mums. Today I discovered—with my bare hands, for Christ's sake—that at least 2 cats mistook the newly turned soil for a cat box.
posted by she's not there at 3:48 PM on September 12, 2019 [13 favorites]


My aunt told me she walks her dog (a toy something, maybe poodle) and carries a little stick with her so she can pretend to pick up poop.
posted by jeather at 4:01 PM on September 12, 2019


Fictitious Frank can pick up Selma Dee's poop and still make it to work on time.

Of course Frank grew up during the 60s and doesn't have a lot of social skills...

Of course? Geez, you're talking harsh about my people here. I find most children of the 60s to be especially charming.
posted by she's not there at 4:04 PM on September 12, 2019 [7 favorites]


My objection was never poop, but rather the volume of it and it's seeming unending and unceasing stream. This would be an interesting and thought provoking post even if it wasn't posted by you, but as it is, and contains our mutual love of dogs I have no objection.

I'm watching you though.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 4:07 PM on September 12, 2019 [12 favorites]


My objection was never poop, but rather the volume of it and it's seeming unending and unceasing stream

I believe poopologists call this the "Taco Bell Model".
posted by maxwelton at 4:39 PM on September 12, 2019 [10 favorites]


Frank can walk Selma Dee to the park that has the picnic table, let her climb up there to poop, and pick it up with no bending over needed. Why do I have to come up with all the ideas...
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 4:43 PM on September 12, 2019 [11 favorites]


posted by maxwelton I believe poopologists call (the seeming unending and unceasing stream of poop) the "Taco Bell Model".

No, no. It's a trump l'oiel.
posted by mattdidthat at 4:45 PM on September 12, 2019 [5 favorites]


If you feel like you're forced to submit a dog cheek swab in order to secure housing for you and your pups, there's probably work-arounds. Because the cheek swabs are self-administered, it seems like there's an opening for a facebook group for people who are willing to trade out-of-state dog DNA so they can never be caught/falsely accused of leaving their dog turds behind.

Also, looking at Mr Dog Poop's typo-laden lab set up page, I strongly suspect their fingerprinting technique can't distinguish between a human sample versus a canine sample, so there's also the option of swabbing any old cheek you had laying around. But be a good person and always clean up after your pet.
posted by peeedro at 4:52 PM on September 12, 2019 [5 favorites]


I remember reading that the first pooper scooper law was the result of a single Great Dane run amok in Jersey City. One asshole is all it takes.

Eventually they’ll figure out they don’t even have to run the tests, because what, poor people are going to shell out for their own testing? Of the poop that’s already been thrown out? Like no one’s enforcing chain of custody on errant dog poops.
posted by schadenfrau at 4:57 PM on September 12, 2019 [1 favorite]


I'm smugly glad to be 1) a cat person who 2) keeps her cats indoors. Nobody but me has to deal with their poop.

Luckily, people around here seem to be pretty good about picking up their dogs' poop. At least I haven't stepped in anything stinky recently. The condo complex where I used to live was a different story - irresponsible dog owners abounded. Like the winners across from me who let their little fluff ball use their balcony as a toilet. Pee-yew.

I don't know if I like the idea of Poo-Prints, but I also don't like irresponsible pet owners ruining it for the rest of us; I can understand why property managers turn to a Poo-Prints type service when so many people just don't care who steps in or smells Fido's doody and feel helpless to do anything. As Schadenfrau said, one asshole is all it takes. (This is why I keep my cats indoors; I will not be that asshole. Jonathan Franzen might think I'm a terrible person just for daring to have cats, but fuck that guy.)
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 5:00 PM on September 12, 2019 [2 favorites]


“It is certainly possible to uniquely identify a dog from poop, but genetic tests on feces can be a little tricky, because the DNA is low-abundance and degraded, and the dog’s DNA will be mixed in with DNA from other sources, such as diet and microbiome” Karlsson says.

But we all know how foul and disgusting dogs can be in their habits.

Dogs are scavengers. As many dog owners know to their cost, dogs often have a penchant for things that we find less than palatable...Occasionally, those rich pickings include poo, much to the disgust of many owners. That poo can be from a range of species (birds, horses, rabbits, cattle, sheep, deer, and in my own dogs' case, cat poo is a particular favourite). But sometimes, dogs have a desire to consume either their own or other dogs' faeces.

What if a coprophagic neighbor dog had stealthily consumed Peluso's dog's stool before he scooped it and then redefecated the DNA?
posted by Gotanda at 5:12 PM on September 12, 2019 [7 favorites]


One asshole is all it takes.

I see what you (or it) did, there.
posted by Greg_Ace at 5:16 PM on September 12, 2019 [11 favorites]


Also: Toldja so.
posted by Greg_Ace at 6:12 PM on September 12, 2019 [2 favorites]


Owners who don't clean up after their pets are why we can't have nice things.

There is a school near my house, which at one point was host to a thriving after-school, ad hoc dog park. I knew scores of dogs and maybe could attach some of them to an owner.

But the people who lived near the school would walk their schnauzers around and let them shit everywhere, never picking up after them. Signs were posted. They persisted. Not everyone could watch them all the time. Stronger signs were posted.

Eventually, the school closed and locked the gates, destroying the community of dog friends overnight. And I don't blame them, because kids should not have to walk through a minefield of dog crap to play kickball.

I'd say the first rule of pet ownership is to be smarter than your pet is, but that would shut out so many pet owners and place yet more undue burdens on an already overworked shelter system.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 7:01 PM on September 12, 2019 [11 favorites]


I was just working out the math of dog shit in high density neighborhoods like my own with my wife a couple of months ago. Mostly because we have seen the same young man with two large german shepherds repeatedly leave their droppings on the sidewalk that we walk on every single day.

The street I live on is almost all buildings of 4 stories or higher (some much higher) and almost all apartments. It seems like there are lots of dogs but it doesn't really take that high a percentage of dog owning people for it to be a lot of dogs on the sidewalk. If you figure there are several thousand apartments on the two block stretch between my building and the park and 20% of people have a dog then you are looking at maybe 200-400 dogs. 2 walks a day so 2 turds a day. So 400-800 turds in two blocks per day. Now seriously underestimating how many people are literraly shitty about picking up dog poop at 5% means that there could be 20-40 turds left on the sidewalk every day.

Now it's bad but it is not that bad. I'd say it is more in the range of 5-10 turds that I see a day. I think the big factor is the inherent sousveillance of high density living. There is almost always someone watching so you can't get away with leaving your dogs shit on the street quite so easily unless you're shameless. But it could be that bad and early morning cleaning by superintendents hides it from me.

But even the 5-10 turds a day can accumulate to a real gross mess if say you have a building where the super doesn't clean up after the jerks. Or say a mansion where the owners don't bother with paying for ground keeping when they are not home. There are spots like this in my walk where shit just seems to accumulate.

I've dreamed of boxing up and mailing the poop to shepherd man because I have seen just too much of his shit. (Also don't get me started on the people in my building who let their dogs piss on our building just outside the bloody doorways. WTH?)

Me, I just annoy my building maintenance guys because I send bags of cat shit and piss soaked cat litter down the garbage chute. 16 floors. Which I am sure just explode when they hit bottom of the chute even though I double bag. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

Life is disgusting.
posted by srboisvert at 7:41 PM on September 12, 2019 [3 favorites]


then you are looking at maybe 200-400 dogs. 2 walks a day so 2 turds a day. So 400-800 turds in two blocks per day

For all the dogs I've known, two turds a day is a major underestimate.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:10 PM on September 12, 2019 [1 favorite]


Worst people in the world are the people who take their dogs to the *football oval* to shit. Having to do a line walk to inspect before you can play a match makes you start to disbelieve in humanity.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 8:17 PM on September 12, 2019 [1 favorite]


I fortunately don't live in an urban area, so for the most part my dog poops off somewhere where nobody will ever step in it, and it's not and issue.

BUT: whenever we go to the dog park he NOT ONLY POOPS ON A SHRUB OF SOME SORT CAUSING A POOP & BRANCH TANGLE BUT ALSO GOES THROUGH THE MOTIONS OF POOPING 2X THE TIMES HE ACTUALLY POOPS SO THEN THE LADY ACROSS THE DOG PARK SEES HIM POOP AND SEES ME NOT DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT BUT LADY, I ASSURE YOU, NOTHING CAME OUT BUT SHE'S JUDGING ME ANYWAYS AND MEANWHILE I HAVE POOP ON MY ELBOW BECAUSE I HAD TO REACH INTO A POOPSHRUB.

its a very good thing he is cute and perfect and wonderful otherwise.
posted by Grandysaur at 8:51 PM on September 12, 2019 [15 favorites]


I’m not saying this is a duplicate post, but I am saying this shit is kind of an old story. It is also a great topic.
posted by Bella Donna at 9:02 PM on September 12, 2019


Worst people in the world are the people who take their dogs to the *football oval* to shit. Having to do a line walk to inspect before you can play a match makes you start to disbelieve in humanity.

There is nowhere I have lived where that would not be necessary even if dogs and their shit winked out of existence. Turns out that geese and some other large birds leave similarly large piles of waste which are no less pleasant to find in the middle of a game.
posted by wierdo at 11:24 PM on September 12, 2019 [2 favorites]


this shit is kind of an old story

*creates shrine to Bella Donna, lights appropriate incense*
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 11:43 PM on September 12, 2019 [3 favorites]


It's also interesting to note that they often are indistinguishable from dog waste that has weathered for a day or two. I once lived in an apartment that had a retention pond behind it that hosted a large group of geese most of the year thanks to some nice beavers that decided it was not large enough or deep enough as built, thus turning it into a wildlife sanctuary of sorts. (Cool story, bro, I'm sure you're thinking, but there is a point, I promise)

Also behind my apartment, next to the pond, was the de facto dog toilet. Though I had never seen anyone fail to pick up after their dog and maintenance picked up shit several times a week, it was still quite the mine field, to the point that management and some residents were absolutely convinced that there was an epidemic of inconsiderate dog owners. In reality, it was essentially all from the geese.

Needless to say, the experience makes me very wary of any effort by landlords to assess punishment for wayward poo.
posted by wierdo at 11:44 PM on September 12, 2019 [1 favorite]


...GOES THROUGH THE MOTIONS OF POOPING 2X THE TIMES HE ACTUALLY POOPS SO THEN THE LADY ACROSS THE DOG PARK SEES HIM POOP AND SEES ME NOT DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT BUT LADY, I ASSURE YOU, NOTHING CAME OUT BUT SHE'S JUDGING ME ANYWAYS...

My Gatsby does the same exact thing! It’s like he can’t get his tail positioned just right the first few times he squats so he’s gotta get resituated.
posted by Weeping_angel at 11:49 PM on September 12, 2019 [2 favorites]


Fictitious Frank...

Frank can use his contacts at Amazon to obtain one of the many long-arm scoopers on the market.

The type of people who own a dog and don't pick up after it are the worst type of people out there.

You're not wrong. Spaniel owner myself (newest addition is 9 weeks old and adorable), but I've got absolutely no patience for people who let their dogs crap anywhere that's remotely human accessible and don't make some kind of effort to clear it up. Cleanup is not always possible (or, in some cases, practical without a biohazard team) and that's the way it goes, but at least try. I'd rather not live in a open-air dog toilet. Of course, our area is full of cats, but that's a whole other thread...

It turns out some people get reeeaaally irate when you call them on it... I'm white and male, and my cohort seem to be the worst offenders (what else is new?), but given my experiences, I can understand other people wouldn't want to try and argue the case with them. "It's 3 foot off the path in minimal undergrowth, I'm not picking that up", when there are plenty of kids who stray that far off the path into the treeline beyond. I've seriously considered picking up and literally throwing it at them (after appropriate "You're going to pick that up, right?" conversation), but suspect that would lead to arrest and other things that would derail my day.

And yeah, indecisive dogs are a nightmare... We can spend 3-4 minutes choosing the right spot, and wind up back where we started :)

(I've tried, but there's no way to edit the above so it doesn't make me sound like a sociopath. Honestly... These people are the worst.)
posted by PeteTheHair at 1:35 AM on September 13, 2019 [3 favorites]


Now I'm wondering if it's assault if you throw someone's own poop at them...
posted by LizBoBiz at 1:43 AM on September 13, 2019 [1 favorite]


I love going for a hike on dog friendly trails and seeing bags of poop people left behind. Seriously? Is this somehow, in your head, better than just taking them off trail?

The type of people who own a dog and don't pick up after it are the worst type of people out there. . . . As far as I'm concerned that class of people should have their own Meghan's Law style map where we can click and see where they live so we can know where this poop is coming from.

When I was dog sitting for my sister she gave me the leash with the baggies attached, then added that she was always slightly nervous walking her dog until after it pooped, because then everyone would see her carrying a filled little baggie and know she wasn't one of those people.
posted by mark k at 7:52 AM on September 13, 2019 [1 favorite]


I love going for a hike on dog friendly trails and seeing bags of poop people left behind. Seriously? Is this somehow, in your head, better than just taking them off trail?

Someone going out and back on the same trail might leave it there to pick up and throw away on the return leg.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 8:20 AM on September 13, 2019



I love going for a hike on dog friendly trails and seeing bags of poop people left behind. Is this somehow, in your head, better than just taking them off trail?


My friend sets her poop bag down trailside so she doesn’t have to carry it around for an hour. She fully intends to pick it up on her way back out, but she’s forgetful and distractable.

(Obviously the answer there is to know yourself and choose to carry the poop with you rather than risk forgetting it, but she’s not quite that good a person, even if she isn’t the sort to deliberately leave poop lying around)

At a popular dog walking spot that sort of flakiness can add up quickly. 😕
posted by Secret Sparrow at 8:43 AM on September 13, 2019


My coworker just published an article extolling the virtues of outside dogs.

I thought it was really sweet, really touching. I have two cats and I feel like a monster for leaving them locked inside my shoebox-shaped house for their entire lives.

I see big dogs, fancy dogs, expensive dogs in the neighborhood with long legs and lots of energy who really want to RUN. CHASE. BARK. And they live in houses my size and go outside three times a day to poop, on a leash, and then its back inside.
posted by rebent at 9:53 AM on September 13, 2019


I sometimes see articles or quotes, even from animal shelters, about how it's just fine to have a big dog in the city. I suppose it's because they'd rather have dogs in cells than dead, but I can't agree with it; if you don't have a yard, you shouldn't have any kind of big active dog.
posted by tavella at 10:18 AM on September 13, 2019 [1 favorite]



If you feel like you're forced to submit a dog cheek swab in order to secure housing for you and your pups, there's probably work-arounds. Because the cheek swabs are self-administered, it seems like there's an opening for a facebook group for people who are willing to trade out-of-state dog DNA so they can never be caught/falsely accused of leaving their dog turds behind.
I thought the same thing and apparently so did others, because the article starts by mentioning that they had a proctored collection event:
Under the supervision of his landlord, Peluso swiped Rufus and Mac’s mouths with a cotton bud provided in the PooPrints registration kit.
I am always amazed when I hear about people buying places with restrictive covenants forbidding the use of more than three squares of tissue when to wipe or planting flowers that clash with the color of their condos, but at least they have options. Rental agreements seem somehow much more coercive. And I don't even like dogs... Yes, I know this brands me as a Metafilter pariah.
posted by Gilgamesh's Chauffeur at 10:20 AM on September 13, 2019 [4 favorites]


When my boyfriend and I were preparing to move in 2014, one of the two complexes we were deciding between would have required DNA from our dog for this reason. We ended up moving into the other one. (For several reasons, though that didn’t help.)

The thing that bugs me is when people leave their dogs’ poop bags next to the building entrances, despite the fact that there are plenty of disposal stations throughout the property. I guess they’re expecting the Poop Fairy to pick it up.
posted by SisterHavana at 11:01 AM on September 13, 2019


then everyone would see her carrying a filled little baggie and know she wasn't one of those people.

One of my mom's friends said she actually liked picking up warm dog shit on cold winter days. It was so disconcerting it has stuck in my mind for more than a decade now.
posted by srboisvert at 5:08 AM on September 14, 2019 [3 favorites]


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