What do you say to the dog owner who’s not picking up after his pet?

By Amy Jamieson
Updated August 18, 2009 07:28 PM
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Even with city laws in place to address the problem, there are still dog owners who think that no one is watching late at night or early in the morning when they leave their dog’s stinky poop on city sidewalks or grass.

What if you’re the one who spies your neighbor leaving a hot one in your hood? Etiquette expert Caroline Tiger, the author of How to Behave: A Guide to Modern Manners for the Socially Challenged, suggests a subtle reminder about the law the next time you see your neighbor out with his pooch. “I’d first say something about his adorable dog and pet the pup nicely as you make small talk for a few minutes,” she says. “Then I’d segue into, ‘I do love dogs, but I hate stepping in their poop. It’s like a minefield around here! If it were me, I wouldn’t risk being slapped with a $300 fine.’ “

Tiger says this lets your neighbor save a little face and also invokes the threat of a hefty fine that he might not have known about, or if he did, perhaps forgot about.

If it continues, Tiger thinks a visual reminder may be the next step. “You could print out the ordinance or the EPA statement on the negative effects of feces mingling with the city water supply, fold it up and slide it anonymously through their mail slot,” she says. “Again, this gives them the power to make their own decision, but now it’s an informed decision.”

If your neighbor ignores both of these tactics, you really have no choice but to be direct. “If you’re not comfortable with confrontation, you might try, ‘Oh, are you out of plastic bags? I could run back to my house – I have plenty,’ ” Tiger says. “Or the more straightforward, ‘You really should pick that up.’”

How would you deal with this situation? Leave your suggestion in the comments below!

Do you have a Petiquette dilemma you’d like to share? Email us at tips@peoplepets.com!