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Fells Prospect community association recommends booby traps to curb dog waste

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A January newsletter put out by the community association in Fells Prospect, Maryland sparked outrage among dog-owning residents when the newsletter suggested using certain types of booby traps to keep dogs from defecating in the sidewalk tree pits.

There has been a long-standing issue of dog owners not picking up after their pets that has had residents in the neighborhood complaining. The community association secretary, Phyllis Fung, even started a Facebook page Cut the Crap Baltimore, designed “for people who are tired of irresponsible dog owners not picking up after their pooches.” The page mostly has suggestions about using bags to pick up poop and disposing of it properly.

The community association newsletter states:
“Some dog owners take care to avoid letting their dog urinate in tree pits that are clearly being taken care of, e.g., tended plants and flowers. A tree pit full of weeds or trash, though, tends to be fair game. You can make it clear that you don't want pets approaching by planting thorny plants (roses, bayberry), or covering your tree pit with pine cones or cuttings from thorny plants that are uncomfortable for dogs to walk on. A sign will also encourage some people to move their dog to the next house. A short fence also signals, 'No poop, please.' Finally, if your tree pit is a fortress, there generally won't be anywhere to poop. That could be something like a fence of two feet or higher. These tips won't deter everyone, but they can help.”

According to the Baltimore Sun, reporter Kim Fernandez interviewed resident dog owners, and found that many think it is not only harmful to the dogs but illegal as well. City officials warn that the fences suggested in the newsletter are illegal, and for that matter, so are any “extra” things placed in the pits.

Some residents in the neighborhood understand the frustration of dog owners not picking up poop but feel the newsletter was out of line in suggesting booby traps to deter dogs from pooping.

Veterinarian Gregory Burbelo, owner of Boston Street Animal Hospital, was stated by the Baltimore Sun as saying “It hurts the dog but doesn’t serve as a warning to the owner to keep the dog out. Putting sharp clippings in there is going to cause a dog to have some kind of problem.”

Nearly everyone agrees that something needs to be done to keep the area clean of poop, but harming the dogs – the innocent victims in this scenario – is not the way to go. Many have suggested installing bag dispensers for the dog waste.

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