Am I a bad neighbor?
March 30, 2011 2:05 PM   Subscribe

The "Am I a Bad Neighbor" Question: I run with my dog in my urban neighborhood (think single family homes with alleyways) on an almost-daily basis. My dog is a serial pooper (he generally poops 2-3 times, right at the beginning of the run), and I've gotten in the habit of throwing the poop bags in my neighbors' garbage cans after I've picked up his business. Am I a bad neighbor?

A little more background: the garbage cans are at the backs of the houses, on the alleyways near the garages (most of which are detached garages). It's possible that a neighbor wouldn't even know what I'm doing, unless he/she happened to look out at the exact moment I decided to throw the bags. The garbage cans are owned by the city (who does the trash pickup) and trash pickup is weekly. I always tie the bags tightly, so there's no chance of poop getting into the garbage can itself. I do this because it's a pain to do a 3+ mile run with multiple bags of poop, and I don't want to have to run home a mile into my run just to dispose of the bag.

So would this bother you if you saw a neighbor doing it? I live in a mid-sized Midwestern city, and most of my neighbors are young families or couples. There are lots of dogs in the neighborhood, and a good portion of those owners don't even bother to pick up the poop, so I figure I'm at least a step ahead of them...right?
posted by elquien to Pets & Animals (79 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Yeah, it would irk me. There's no guarantee at all that the feces, the smell will stay in the bags. It reads like your convenience and preferences are more important than being considerate.
posted by ambient2 at 2:06 PM on March 30, 2011 [4 favorites]

posted by jeb at 2:07 PM on March 30, 2011

You pick up. That's good.

It's the one's that don't that bug me.
posted by mazola at 2:07 PM on March 30, 2011 [12 favorites]

I think this is normal.

But maybe I'm a bad neighbor.
posted by juliapangolin at 2:08 PM on March 30, 2011

I do this. A garbage can is a garbage can. My partner thinks I'm wrong to do it. We're both dog people and very neighborly/community-minded. Nobody's ever complained (and I've done it when people are out gardening etc., with a wave & a smile). We have neighborhood alleys too, aren't they great?
posted by headnsouth at 2:08 PM on March 30, 2011 [2 favorites]

This would not bother me at all, but I guarantee that it would really bother some people. If I was you, though, I'd keep doing it. It's unlikely to bother anyone enough that they'll say anything to you, but if they do you can give them the explanation you gave here and promise not to use their trashcan again.
posted by amro at 2:08 PM on March 30, 2011 [2 favorites]

posted by brainmouse at 2:08 PM on March 30, 2011

I don't know if it would bother me but I've walked with my family, including the dog, and when we deposited a bag of poop in someone else's trash can, we got yelled at. This was on Long Island.
posted by kat518 at 2:08 PM on March 30, 2011

I wouldn't have a problem with this either.
posted by royalsong at 2:09 PM on March 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

Well, I kind of think so. Poop bags stink, and if I didn't already have a dog I would hate to end up with a trash can that smells like dog poop. Not to mention if I drop something heavy on top of a poop bag and it splatters all over my can. That would make me furious. Sure, it's better than not scooping at all, but that doesn't make it perfectly OK.
posted by Rock Steady at 2:09 PM on March 30, 2011 [19 favorites]

This came up previously in regards to throwing things in random peoples' garbage cans. I seem to remember the balance coming out pretty much 50/50 pro-con.

On preview: I think there's at least one more than the existing previouslies.
posted by rhizome at 2:09 PM on March 30, 2011

I'd rather have it in my can than in my yard. I live in an unincorporated area that doesn't have pick-up laws and people often don't clean up after their dogs. Whether you do it because of a law or just from common courtesy, I applaud you for cleaning up after your dog and would be fine with your using my can.
posted by rheumy_the_dwarf at 2:10 PM on March 30, 2011 [4 favorites]

Personal experience of this is my finding the poop bag lying alone at the bottom of the can after the pickup tossed my garbage in the truck. Not happy making. Then again, I own the can and have to store it inside in the interim.

Are there not public garbage cans along your run by which you could avoid the issue altogether?

Curious if the city has any thoughts on this sort of irregular usage of these assigned garbage cans. Could you call them and report back? Genuinely curious and I am sure others besides me would be interested and thank you.
posted by IndigoJones at 2:13 PM on March 30, 2011 [2 favorites]

i do this. i have also had ppl's dogs poop in my yard. i would rather have them bag that poop and deposit it in my trashcan than to leave that poop in my yard for me to pick up. i would also rather they put their litter in my trashcan than on my lawn or the sidewalk in front of my house. trash is trash. it's not like your bringing over all your household garbage and putting it in their trashcan.
posted by violetk at 2:15 PM on March 30, 2011 [2 favorites]

Depends. If the poop is in a sturdy, tied-off bag, and it's going into a bin supplied by the city or pickup company, preferably to be picked up by one of those scary automated trucks, then no problem.

I'd hesitate to do it if the bin were privately owned.
posted by tangerine at 2:20 PM on March 30, 2011 [3 favorites]

The problem with this is that you don't know if the people whose trash cans you're putting your dogs excrement in are also dog or pet owners. If they are, then they probably already have bagged shit. But those that aren't, are likely not going to appreciate you doing this. Yes, it is better than not picking it up at all, but throwing your dogs shit in random people's trash cans is not, IMHO, a good, neighborly thing to do.

Maybe you could hold on to it until you see someone by their house, and ask them "hey neighbor, mind if I toss this in your trash can?" That way you'd have a better idea of which people won't be pissed off by having excrement in their trash cans.
posted by raztaj at 2:21 PM on March 30, 2011 [2 favorites]

You're a good neighbor. I consider city owned cans as public trash receptacles and do the same, especially into those cans at the apartment building about halfway through our walk. It'd be different matter if the trash cans were privately owned or if the trash cans were well within their yard such that you had to trespass to deposit the load. Available city can in an alley, go for it. You're nearby stream thanks you for your responsibility too.
posted by pappy at 2:22 PM on March 30, 2011 [3 favorites]

I am not a dog owner. I am a trashcan owner, and a midwesterner. I have no problem with you tossing well-bagged dog poop in my trash. (In fact, when I've been working in front yard and someone's dog has pooped and they've picked it up, I've said, "Oh, let me put that in the trash for you" so they didn't have to carry it all walk.)

Trash is trash. I vastly prefer you pick up the poop and not just leave it, and I appreciate that carrying a bag of poop is gross. Feel free to toss it in my trash.

The only caveat I would have is if it was very messy OR if it was in the middle of a heatwave when the trash cans were really stinking to high heaven; then I might ask you to think twice. (Also, if the trash man has JUST come and you're putting poop in my empty trash can, I might be annoyed -- I might have been planning on hosing them out or something. I'd try to pick cans that already have some trash in them.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 2:25 PM on March 30, 2011 [8 favorites]

Clearly, people can be touchy about this. One of our neighborhood routes features a sign saying that we should not deposit poop in their garbage can. Why, I have no idea, but we don't since they're so sensitive about it. I can't for the life of me imagine that their garbage cans are so pristine as to not have a little stink to them already. But I play nice and keep my garbage to my apartment dumpster (or someone else's dumpster if no one is looking).
posted by Gilbert at 2:25 PM on March 30, 2011

My parents live a few streets over from me, and for a while (unbeknownst to me) my dad was throwing their dog's (tied) poop bags in our garbage can when he walked the dog past our house. After weeks (!!) of disgustingly stinky cans, I finally figured out what was going on. In our case, the city trash pickup for some reason does not lift the cans and dump them into the truck; rather, the sanitation workers pick up the individual garbage bags and throw them in the truck by hand (not a good system, but what do I know?). The small poop bags in the bottom of our can were being missed and were just sitting there endlessly. Gross.

Now, hopefully that's not the case in your city, but I'm sharing that anecdote because you never know how something like that can go awry. My dad obviously did not know what was happening and as soon as we figured out, he came up with some other system. But if we didn't know who was doing it, it would really be awful and frustrating. (We've never had any bags of poop, but people do throw random trash in our can when it's at the curb for pickup like drink cups and such, and that never gets picked up by the city either, and even though it's usually not stinky and disgusting, it's still annoying.)

Of course it's good that you are picking up after your dog. EVERYONE who has a dog should pick up after it; that's why it's usually the law for owners to clean up after pets. I don't mean to minimize the good part of what you're doing because it's certainly lots better than letting the poop lie there in the street or whatever, but just because other people are irresponsible pet owners, that doesn't mean you should be only halfway responsible.

I suggest you either ask your neighbors for permission (they might be totally fine with it) or alter your route so you pass public receptacles where you can make the deposit. In the meantime, come up with a way to tie the bags to the leash or something so you can take them where ever they need to go. When I walk my parents' dog for them, I attach the poop bag to the handle of the leash (they use one of those retractable leashes) with a rubber band until I get to a public trash can or back to their house. I get that it's inconvenient for running; it's up to you to decide between inconveniencing yourself or irritating your neighbors.

But seriously, if you can just nicely ask a few of the people on your route, they will probably say it's fine and appreciate being asked.
posted by hansbrough at 2:27 PM on March 30, 2011 [4 favorites]

There may be bylaws in your city/county about dumping trash in other people's garbage bins. It's unlikely, but possible that what you're doing is illegal.

That said, being a dog owner, I wouldn't care as long as you didn't make a mess.
posted by blue_beetle at 2:42 PM on March 30, 2011

I think it's a regional thing. When I lived in New York City, people dumped poop-bags in other people's garbage cans on the street all the time, and no one thought anything of it. I guess people were just happy to not have dog crap on the sidewalk. Now that I live in suburban Atlanta, that is one of those things that is Just. Not. Done. I remember one of my neighbors just absolutely losing her shit (no pun intended) over someone putting a closed, tied bag of poop into their garbage, which was already sitting at the curb to be picked up later that day.
posted by deadmessenger at 2:43 PM on March 30, 2011

It wouldn't bother me, but I'm a dog owner with plenty of poop bags already in my bin. However, I don't do it to other people unless it's right before trash gets picked up.

But, since my dog is usually a one-and-done pooch and I typically walk her at night, I will leave a full bag on a corner and then loop back and pick it up on the way home when it's convenient to my route.
posted by Ufez Jones at 2:49 PM on March 30, 2011

I wouldn't abuse my neighbour's cans like this but then I don't see why hauling around a well tied bag of dog poop would be a big deal. If there is no chance of poop getting in the can then there is no chance of it getting on you. Maybe you could vary your run route so you head the opposite direction you'd normally go for a short bit and therefor incorporate a loop back to your own can.

"The garbage cans are owned by the city (who does the trash pickup) and trash pickup is weekly. I always tie the bags tightly, so there's no chance of poop getting into the garbage can itself. I do this because it's a pain to do a 3+ mile run with multiple bags of poop, and I don't want to have to run home a mile into my run just to dispose of the bag."

Where I live pet feces has to be double bagged so your practice could, theoretically anyways, lead to fines levied against your neighbours if the law is the same.
posted by Mitheral at 2:50 PM on March 30, 2011

There should be a little hobo sign style icon that one could put on their trash can to signal "OK to dump poop bags here".
posted by Rock Steady at 2:51 PM on March 30, 2011 [6 favorites]

I do this only occasionally....and I try to do it at houses that are clearly apartments or apartment buildings. For some reason, I think people living in apartments feel less personally about their garbage cans.
posted by vitabellosi at 2:51 PM on March 30, 2011

If my trashcan is out for pickup and has not yet been picked up, you can dump your dog shit in it. If it's already been picked up, you can't, 'cos I'm going to rinse it out when I get home. If it's where I store it, I'd rather you didn't, because if it bursts I'm literally dealing with your shit, but I don't store it anywhere that's publicly accessible. I figure if you store your trashcan where the public can dump shit in it, the public are going to dump shit in it.
posted by IanMorr at 2:54 PM on March 30, 2011

I don't even like dogs, but you'd be welcome to use my bin.
posted by pompomtom at 2:59 PM on March 30, 2011 [2 favorites]

I do the same thing. Perhaps I am a bad neighbor too.
posted by Flood at 3:16 PM on March 30, 2011

People drop their doggie bags in my green bin now and again and I don't really mind. I'm with everyone else who said it's a lot better than the jerks who don't pick up at all.
posted by The Card Cheat at 3:19 PM on March 30, 2011

I no longer put the can outside, because twice I found the results of someone like you at the bottom of the can, which was otherwise empty after the truck had been past. Since the cans are supposed to be taken inside after each pickup, it's a slightly different situation than yours, but my opinion is, it's your companion animal, you should try to confine the consequences to yourself.
posted by channaher at 3:20 PM on March 30, 2011 [3 favorites]

I walked by my alley not long ago and saw someone doing this with my can. At first it bugged me, but then I decided I didn't really care and didn't acknowledge that it was my can. It was winter though, summer in Texas might have been a different matter. And I know it would really bother my next-door-neighbor.
posted by bwanabetty at 3:23 PM on March 30, 2011

I have done this once or twice, but really felt rude when I did it. Now I just carry the bag back to my own garbage, or deposit it in the public trash can on the corner. I feel less weird dropping it into a dumpster behind an apartment building, but I really don't feel right putting it in someone else's trash can. Also, if the trash has already been picked up, I would NEVER dump it in someone's trash to sit there stinking all week. Rude.
posted by OolooKitty at 3:40 PM on March 30, 2011

When I've got a full bag or two and it's early in the walk/run, I place them discreetly on a corner behind a shrub or something else that will hide them. Then I pick them up when I return. I've never forgotten and as far as I know, nobody has had a problem with it. Sometimes wonder if I should carry a note to go with the bags that says, "I'll be back to pick up shortly," just in case!

That being said, I wouldn't mind if someone used my garbage can.
posted by peacecorn at 3:45 PM on March 30, 2011 [4 favorites]

I don't like people doing this because my trash can sits right by my front door and it's bad enough in the summer trying to keep trash cans non-smelly. Someone once threw a poop bag in my recycling bin when it was at the curb, and of course, it was after it had been picked up, so I got to deal with moving the bag of poop.
I have a dog. I throw my poop bags in public trash cans or in the giant apartment ones, because those are not close to any buildings or cars.
posted by elpea at 3:49 PM on March 30, 2011

Sure some people will have a problem with it on principal, or have special circumstances which would actually make it an inconvenience for them, but the latter is pretty easily recognized and avoided in a city, and the former are insane. It's trash.
posted by cmoj at 3:58 PM on March 30, 2011

Personally, I look for big dumpsters or public trash cans, just because I know some people are sensitive about dog poop in their trash cans. That said, if I'm walking the dog on trash day and all the cans are out awaiting pickup, or someone keeps their trash can close to the street, I use them. I figure, if a person feels strongly about not wanting poop bags in her trash can, she won't leave it close to the street.

I don't care if someone uses my trash can to toss their dog poop bags (as long as the bags are tied off). I would certainly prefer that you use my trash can than leave dog poop in my yard!
posted by Meg_Murry at 4:00 PM on March 30, 2011

Wait, these trashcans are city owned? Presumably the alleyways are also city owned. You're fine. The only way I would ever consider this impolite would be if these were privately owned trashcans. As advised upthread, just be sure you tie the bags off securely.
posted by Lieber Frau at 4:05 PM on March 30, 2011

Yeah, I'd just be happy you're picking it up at all. Having suddenly moved from the suburbs to the city, I'm finding a lot more dog poop when I walk around. Joy.

Of course, my trashcan is full of cat litter anyway so it's not like it's going to change the smell.
posted by wildcrdj at 4:09 PM on March 30, 2011

The fact that your asking basically answers the question. Throw it in a public trash can. Imagine it rips up and then the owner has to clean it out or at the very least smell it each and every time he opens it until it decays. It's your dog. It's your responsibility.
posted by miniape at 4:11 PM on March 30, 2011 [2 favorites]

As a corner house owner, I can tell you that our garbage can (and the other corner houses) take the bulk of the dog poop. I don't really mind, cause I would much rather have it in the garbage can than on the grass, but perhaps every once in a while walk up the alley a bit.
posted by sulaine at 4:12 PM on March 30, 2011

if it's well-bagged and you don't have to come too far onto my property to drop it in the trash can, i don't mind. throwing un or badly bagged poop into a trash can, or walking around from the front to the back of the house would annoy me but not as much as dog poop on the sidewalk.
posted by rmd1023 at 4:19 PM on March 30, 2011

One time recently, I discovered a lone dog poop bag in the bottom of my (otherwise empty) trash can the day after the trash had been picked up. It irked me, because if I were to drop something heavy and sharp-cornered in there (which I occasionally do), the poop bag could rupture and then I'd have dog shit smeared all over the inside of my trash can.
posted by Orinda at 4:50 PM on March 30, 2011

I wouldn't do this because I would be worried about a confrontation, but I wouldn't care if you did this to my garbage can if it were already out for pickup and full of trash. I would care a little bit if you threw it in my empty can (because then I would end up keeping your dog's poop in my garage for the next week) but probably not enough to bother talking to you about it or anything.

A thought: one of the women in my running group runs with her husky, and uses long, skinny newspaper-type bags for poop sacks. When she and the dog have used one, she ties it low and then has more than enough plastic left to tie it to the dog's collar at the back of the dog's neck. That way, the dog ends up hauling it and she doesn't have to go five more miles holding a bag of poop.
posted by charmedimsure at 4:57 PM on March 30, 2011

People in my neighbourhood actually bag the poop (to keep up appearances, I suppose) then throw it in the nearest hedge when no one's looking. So, throwing it in my can would be much preferable to that.

But I only put garbage in my can about once a month (if that) and having a bunch of stinky dog shit bags in it during the summer, even though it's outside, would piss me right off.
posted by klanawa at 5:27 PM on March 30, 2011

I wouldn't mind if you did this, but then, I had someone yell at me for putting a well-tied poop bag in their garbage can ON GARBAGE DAY (pre-pickup) when the garbage truck was actually ON THEIR STREET so...YMMV. I don't think there is one right answer, but probably best to err on the side of not putting your dog's poop in someone else's trash, no matter who technically owns the actual bin.
posted by biscotti at 5:30 PM on March 30, 2011

I did this yesterday on trash day and felt slightly weird about it, but had no idea where the next public trashcan was. But let's face it: I'd feel equally weird walking around with a dog wearing a stylin' poop-carrying vest.
posted by deludingmyself at 5:33 PM on March 30, 2011

I hate it when people put dog crap into my trashcan. We generate very little trash, so I don't event put the can out every week. Plus, in the summer, things can dealt bake and stink. If they are public cans, then that is a more ambiguous issue. Try looking for a dumpster though. If you owned a trash can that you left outside, would you mind if I crapped in it? I don't understand why people see so free to impose their choice of pets on others.
posted by reddot at 6:27 PM on March 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you do an out an back, can you bag the poop early in the run, leave it, and then pick it up on the way back? Maybe it's weird but when I dog sit, the perfect pup usually does his stuff right in front of the neighbor's house and there are no trash cans anywhere. I bag it, leave it nearish the road but off the neighbor's lawn and pick it up on the return trip. Sure an irate country neighbor could accuse me of littering during the walking away stage but I'm happy to explain and figure that if they care enough to watch me bag it and leave it, they'll be caring enough to watch me walk back and pick it up.
posted by countrymod at 6:44 PM on March 30, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks for the input guys. Just to answer a few of the questions raised above:

1. There are no public trashcans along my neighborhood route, otherwise I would obviously throw them in there. When I run around the lakes there are cans, and I'm willing to hold the bags until I reach a public trashcan.

2. I used to leave them on the side of the street and then loop back to pick them up on my way back - until a really angry guy came running after me one day and literally threw the bag at me and yelled at me to take my poop. Like who goes through the trouble of actually bagging the poop, then just leaves it on the side of the road? (Not me, anyway)

I like the suggestion about skipping the corner house once in awhile - that's where I tend to drop it, and I can see how it might get old. I'll try to vary my routine from now on. :)
posted by elquien at 6:53 PM on March 30, 2011

I can't believe anyone has a problem with this. It's not like you're throwing it through their mail slot. If someone yells at you, then just don't pick it up next time your dog poops in their yard. See how they like THAT.

Data point: also a dog owner, also in a mid-size midwestern city, also in an urban area with single-family homes with alleyways.
posted by desjardins at 7:18 PM on March 30, 2011

Sit! Bad neighbor: the bags may be sealed, but a large trash bag crashing down on it later, unsuspectingly==oh my god the smell. We've installed chains and locks on our bins because of this maddeningly regular occurrence.
posted by mimi at 7:24 PM on March 30, 2011

Public garbage cans in alleys = go for it. Those cans don't get cleaned out and smell anyway. It sounds like you're a great neighbor.
posted by Bunglegirl at 7:32 PM on March 30, 2011

Personal experience of this is my finding the poop bag lying alone at the bottom of the can after the pickup tossed my garbage in the truck. [...]

[...] the city trash pickup for some reason does not lift the cans and dump them into the truck; rather, the sanitation workers pick up the individual garbage bags and throw them in the truck by hand (not a good system, but what do I know?). The small poop bags in the bottom of our can were being missed and were just sitting there endlessly. Gross.

Both of these are my experience.

Neighbor puts poop bag in my trash can just after trash pickup, I will have to put the trash can back in the garage with bag of poop in it.

Small bag of poop by itself will not get taken. Which I learned by going two weeks with a few bags of neighbor dog poop in the bottom of the can, festering away in my garage. So I have to reach into gross trash can to handle week-old poop bag to put in into one of my trash bags later in the week.

I'm sure the neighbor who leaves the poop bags doesn't mean to be imposing, but whoever it is, they end up making their neighbor handle their week old dog doo bag, which is not so nice.
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:37 PM on March 30, 2011 [2 favorites]

We don't appreciate this over here. Reasons: our garbage is picked up by the city only biweekly, not everyone is careful to tie/seal their poop bags, other garbage lands on top and breaks the bags, and/or the small bags don't get taken by the sanitation folks.

FWIW, we also didn't like it when real estate agents and house hunters recently left a pile of take-out coffee cups in our indoor garbage can.
posted by analog at 7:47 PM on March 30, 2011

Do you run by any apartment buildings of businesses or anything that might have dumpsters? That might be the easier option. But really, I think that it's a trash can, for trash, and don't feel guilty about putting your trash in there.

(we are probably Really Bad Neighbors because we leave our poop bags in the {covered} trash can at the elementary school by us. It's emptied at least once daily, and we are usually joining like 10 other such bags but still. It's probably not kind behavior, because little kids can do unexpected things with stuff like trash cans)
posted by R a c h e l at 7:59 PM on March 30, 2011

Meh. I put bags in people's trash here all the time. Containers aren't supposed to be on the street in our city except on garbage day- those who are too lazy to move their cans can deal with a little poo in their cans.
posted by rockindata at 8:11 PM on March 30, 2011

posted by furtive at 9:41 PM on March 30, 2011

Bad. You take care of your own ... stuff. Least you could do is ask them if it's OK.

See the numerous comments detailing problems, above.

bad bad bad bad!
posted by coffeefilter at 9:54 PM on March 30, 2011

those who are too lazy to move their cans can deal with a little poo in their cans.

Laziness doesn't enter into it. I come home from work on trash day to move my can and find that there is neighbor dog poo in there. Putting it in my can after the trash is picked up means that I will have to store it in my garage for a week and then pick up the ripe bag and put it into my other trash bag. In effect, the neighbor is basically doing the same thing as handing me a bag of their dog poo.

Would you ring your neighbor's doorbell and hand them a bag of dog poo and ask them to throw it out for you? Probably not, it would be kind of rude, right? Because it's kind of rude/presumptuous/weird to ask someone else to handle your dog's poo bags? But in effect that's what my neighbor is doing. (Even though I'm sure they don't mean to be rude in that way.)
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:43 PM on March 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

What LobsterMitten said -- please do not hand me your bag of poo.

I used to have an apartment with a place to keep an outside trash can on the side of the building. I wound up throwing out the trash can. Great, your bags of poo are tied tightly. But when others' are not, I'm less likely to appreciate that SOME of the bags of poo that week were merely stinky, rather than stinky and smeared across the inside of my garbage can.
posted by desuetude at 11:00 PM on March 30, 2011

Since you know approximately when/where your dog is going to poop, you should keep an eye out for dog-owning homeowners in the vicinity and take any opportunity to ask them if you can use their containers. (In my experience, at least, dog owners within a neighborhood-y area generally get around to talking to each other.)

I'm lucky because our situation is that there are dumpsters on nearly every block in our neighborhood, and people just bring their trash to the nearby dumpster that is emptied every night, so I'm always within a block or two of a public dumpster. In your situation I would scope out at least one friendly bin-owner and arrange my run path to accommodate friendly early poop drop-off.
posted by taz at 11:09 PM on March 30, 2011

I have pondered this same question and usually end up totin' the poop baggies around until I find a public trash bin or get home. It may seem a bit silly - I mean it's an outdoor trash bin and it's already dirty - but I don't really like it when people use my trash. Once I dropped a poop bag into my own trash and it promptly burst and splattered. Sometimes the trash bins get knocked over by raccoons and I have to clean up spilled stuff, and I don't like the idea of possibly touching some gross, possibly disease or worm-ridden mystery poo (not that I'd want to touch the productions of my own beloved dog, but at least I know where that's been.) I sympathize, though, with not wanting to run a mile with the bags. And I definitely appreciate it when people pick up after their dogs. I'd say just be really careful how you deposit the bags to minimize the chance of them breaking open.
posted by spiny at 11:13 PM on March 30, 2011

Also, if you run a loop, you could put the bag either in a bin or under a bush/whatever, and have a cheap plastic key ID tag on a rubberband attached to the neck of the bag with the notation "Will pick up on my way back!" Then, of course, pick it up on your way back. :) Since he poops early, that should be somewhere relatively near your place.
posted by taz at 11:21 PM on March 30, 2011

You know how you don't want to carry that bag of excrement around? Your neighbours don't want it around either. And it's not even their dog.
posted by Solomon at 11:35 PM on March 30, 2011 [4 favorites]

Or... PoopPac! It has a belt clip option.
posted by taz at 11:37 PM on March 30, 2011

I would have no problem with you doing this if it was securely bagged up. You are a responsible pet owner, good for you.
posted by arcticseal at 6:33 AM on March 31, 2011

If I put my outgoing mail in your mailbox would you have a problem with it?
posted by jasondigitized at 8:35 AM on March 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

My city has trucks that pick up the trash cans and dump them in. They only pick up city trash cans, not personal ones, so there are no personal cans along my dog route. Because I know that most of the people in my neighborhood don't bring their trash cans back in (bushes separate a lot of the houses, so most people just leave their cans nestled into the bushes) and they're all city trash cans, I don't even think twice about throwing my bagged dog poop into their cans. I also use pretty sturdy bags and tie them tightly, so that might also make a difference. Of course, I've also never splattered anything in my trash can because I usually set my bags in the can, not fling them.
posted by kro at 10:10 AM on March 31, 2011

I'm in the You're adding trash to a trash container. No Big Deal camp. In deference to those who might mind, carry extra bags, and doublebag.
posted by theora55 at 4:15 PM on March 31, 2011

I'll try to vary my routine from now on. :)

What about the point mentioned multiple times above that you may be forcing your neighbors to clean up your dog's crap from the inside of their can if the bag breaks? Or that the small bag sitting in the bottom of the can may not get picked up for weeks at a time?

I couldn't help notice you not addressing that point.

The idea that your dog's crap might break out of the bag and force your neighbor to clean it out is so obviously rude it's amazing to me that possibility alone doesn't get you to stop. Or at least ask permission.
posted by mediareport at 7:11 PM on March 31, 2011

I'm not a dog owner and while I'm not thrilled when someone chucks their dog poop bag in my bin I try to approach it pragmatically: it's better than the alternative. People in general just don't want to carry trash very far (you've probably been to towns with few or no public trash cans and a correspondingly high rate of litter on the streets) and people really don't want to carry bags of dog shit around with them. Yes, the ideal situation is for dog owners to carry the bags all the way back home or use a frequently emptied public bin or dumpster but we don't live in an ideal world. And the choice here isn't between using private people's bins vs carrying bags home or using frequently emptied public bins/dumpsters. It's between using private people's bins vs leaving shit on the ground or picking it up and tossing it in a hedge or something. Okay, maybe the OP isn't one of those people but I would venture that most people are (and more than would like to admit it). So I'd rather them use my bins than not at all.
posted by 6550 at 8:25 PM on March 31, 2011

I personally wouldn't care too much, but there are two trashcans in my neighborhood where the owners have left notes asking people to not throw away pet waste, so I know it really bugs some people. For that reason alone, we always use the public trashcans or take it back home with us.
posted by jrichards at 7:15 AM on April 1, 2011

Response by poster: OP here - just to clarify one thing: it's not the fact that it's DOG POOP that bothers me about carrying it around - it's the fact that I'm engaged in an aerobic activity. I always carry the bags home with me when I'm on a walk (vs. a run), because I'm not running. So the argument that "well you don't want to carry it, so why would someone want it in their garbage" is wrong.

Frankly I'm a little surprised and disheartened about everyone who feels like it's appropriate and/or necessary to attack me and others (and there are several very judgmental attacks in the comments above) on this issue - I think the fact that I'm asking about it, to figure out if it bothers other people, demonstrates that I truly do care about whether it's "right" or "wrong." So please stop being so judgmental - AskMeFi is supposed to be a place where people can ask questions openly, and some of the comments above really make me question whether I'll post again. (And also, I've asked my immediate neighbors - some dog owners, some not - whether this would bother them and they've all said no - but I don't feel comfortable knocking on the door of someone down the street, introducing myself for the FIRST TIME, and asking if I can throw stuff in their garbage - thus the question here!)
posted by elquien at 3:16 PM on April 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

elquien, I apologize if my comment was too harshly phrased. It just seemed that you had rather glibly passed over the major objection folks opposed to the practice keep bringing up in threads about this. To me, the idea that I might be causing someone else to clean up my pet's crap from the inside of their trash can after a bag either breaks or sits unnoticed for weeks at a time is enough to prevent me from doing this. I'm curious what you think about that objection, which folks phrased reasonably enough before you decided you'd just "vary my routine."
posted by mediareport at 3:25 PM on April 1, 2011

Oh. Well. You've actually had a light time of it.

Here are the questions you actually asked:

Am I a bad neighbor?

So would this bother you if you saw a neighbor doing it?

There are lots of dogs in the neighborhood, and a good portion of those owners don't even bother to pick up the poop, so I figure I'm at least a step ahead of them...right?

So you asked only to know if you would be considered bad by imagined-neighbors of yours, or if people would be bothered, plus a request for clemency, because at least you are picking up.

You got all of those things. Some people said you were a good neighbor for picking up, some said you were bad for using the neighbors' garbage cans. Some people said they would be bothered, some said they wouldn't. Some said anything is better than not picking up.

Some (me!) added some other possible ways of dealing with the situation, which you didn't ask for... but. But why didn't you ask for that? Is it because you just want some sort of unanimous internet agreement that you are A-OK, and should just keep doing what you do?

It's obviously not A-OK with everyone. Personally, I would not use strangers' bins for my dog poop. I would figure another way. I also don't use construction/removal bins – those things that are rented and parked in front of a house being remodeled or cleared out, or whatever, because I figure someone is going to be going through all that stuff to salvage the usable bits. I pretty much just put my dog's poop into the public dumpster, or into my own garbage. I would not walk or run for miles holding a bag of poop in my hand if there were no public bins; I would figure out another way. It's really not rocket science.

You totally got honest answers to your questions, plus you got suggestions for alternative possibilities. If these answers make you question whether you'll post again, then you didn't want answers to the questions you asked – you wanted affirmation about what you are doing. For the most part, this site is not going to be your best bet for that. But it is usually a good place for intelligent answers to actual questions.
posted by taz at 4:15 PM on April 1, 2011 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Taz, the comment that made me pause the most (from mediareport) was later clarified (thanks to mediareport for that). I never meant to suggest that I'm not going to consider all of the comments above - why else would I have asked?? I'm not just looking for some "affirmation" about what I'm doing - I was truly seeking input from a group of strangers to see whether this would bother others. It's clearly not a black and white question, as the answers are pretty much 50-50 on whether it would bother people. At least it gives me some perspective, and that's all I was looking for. And your suggestion was a good one - I didn't mean for my previous comments to indicate that I don't plan to take these comments into consideration...frankly, I haven't decided yet how I'm going to proceed going forward!
posted by elquien at 5:31 PM on April 1, 2011

OP here - just to clarify one thing: it's not the fact that it's DOG POOP that bothers me about carrying it around - it's the fact that I'm engaged in an aerobic activity.

But see, it's really pretty typical for people to have an aversion to shit. So perhaps these particular feces don't bother you overmuch, because it's worth it to you have a dog. (Though if so, I don't see how your aerobic activity changes things.)

Similarly, your immediate neighbors may have decided that you're a good enough neighbor that they'll put up with some poop. But it's a pretty safe assumption that strangers have no motivation to be so magnanimous about random poop.
posted by desuetude at 10:26 PM on April 1, 2011

But it's a pretty safe assumption that strangers have no motivation to be so magnanimous about random poop.

Actually it isn't a safe assumption at all, which is why the OP is getting both a lot of "it's ok" and a lot of "it's not ok" responses to the question.
posted by headnsouth at 5:51 AM on April 2, 2011

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