Reporting on pedestrian life in the D.C. area

Picture of the day: Beware the dogs of Petworth

January 18, 2012 - 10:02 AM
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A serious warning. (Photo: John Hendel)

D.C., perhaps I don't have to tell you that the dogs of Petworth are newsworthy. Perhaps, for instance, you already know this thanks to Adam Serwer's  American Prospect take on "the city divided" that we have in Petworth:

You don't have to look at the buildings or the people in Washington, D.C.'s historically black Petworth neighborhood to see that things have changed. Some say you just need to look at the dogs. "It used to be nothing but pit bulls and Rottweilers around here," says a longtime resident who gives his name as Lattimore Jenkins. He sits on a blue cooler across from a new condominium building. "Now you got them little baby dogs, Jack Russells, Chihuahuas."

What Serwer doesn't tell you is that all these Jack Russells and Chihuahuas can be a pedestrian menace. Yes, you know what I'm talking about. Are these pet owners owners cleaning up after their dogs when they go for walks? The task is necessary and not all that hard. And if you can't do it yourselves, at least three companies in the D.C. metro region offer to do it for you (the names are priceless — "Doodyscoopers"?).

In any case, I share with you this sign posted to a tree near the intersection of Kansas Avenue and Shepherd Street NW. It contains a cute cartoon dog and warns that guilty individuals will be fined $50. I'm happy to see this. As ridiculous an issue as this may seem, shit adds up and can kill the pedestrian oasis the District government is trying to create with its 3,000 trees (the planting's halfway done, DDOT announced today). I suspect my fellow Petworthians had good reason for posting this sign. To not scoop is to leave an unsightly mess, the bane of sidewalks and lawns everywhere and one that interferes with the walkers among us. No one wants to see this — or step in this — on the way to the Metro.

Our own District Curmudgeon Geoff Hatchard pursued some culprits in mid-2011 after witnessing an incident in a tree box: "I'd like to see these people positively identified and publicly shamed. Some unfortunate worker from the Golden Triangle BID has probably already cleaned up the mess left by these anti-social jerks." Just last week, I was listening to a This American Life broadcast in which diligent community leaders were learning how to identify the guilty pooping dogs via DNA testing. This is a serious issue.

Please, D.C. Listen to the cartoon dog. For Petworth's sake.

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