Although Boulevard East has the potential to be a beautiful walkway, it has become, in several areas a litter box where dog owners walk their dogs and allow them to defecate and urinate anywhere and everywhere along the sidewalk. The significant number of dogs in our town has lead to extremely soiled sidewalks. The trees lining the curbside die due to extreme amounts of acid from dog urine; the urine not only harms the trees – it even disintegrate structures at the base of fire hydrants and planters. I notice the town has paid (from tax dollars) to re-plant more trees, which I am guessing will similarly succumb to death by dog urine. Some of the trees were fenced off and grass planted to surround them. This didn’t stop my neighbor from carrying his dog inside the gated area so the dog could “eat the fresh grass.” Needless to say, all that grass is now gone and replaced with mulch.
I don’t walk along Boulevard East in the dark as I don’t enjoy stepping in smudged dog doo (if people even pick it up; you can always find fresh nuggets of poop just left there). When I’m awaiting my bus to NYC for work I notice that the daycare from down the street takes little children along Boulevard East for a walk. Do they realize the dirt and amount of dog doo and urine these children are walking through? What about the soiling of strollers and wheelchairs. It grosses me out but that may just be my issue (some dog owners seem to think that stepping in dog feces is no big deal; do health officials agree?). The blind lady that lives in the Galaxy is one of a handful of people that curb their dog. Why are there signs all along the Boulevard telling people it’s the law to “curb” your dog and even impose a fine for not abiding? Is dog crap a health hazard? But then, why don’t our town and health officials enforce the law? As I was jogging along the Boulevard East sidewalk today, I came upon a middle-aged man allowing his dog to crap smack in the middle of the sidewalk. I stopped and purposely politely said, “Sir, you are supposed to curb your dog” to which he immediately and defensively told me he has no time for this and to get away. Understanding that he probably felt “caught” doing something wrong, I pointed out that I wasn’t trying to argue or be rude but that it’s the law and signs say you must curb your dog because otherwise it soils the sidewalk we all walk on, to which he threatened to punch me in the face. Stunned by his lack of reasonableness and the physical threat, I asked him why he was speaking to me this way when I was only asking him to notice what he was doing; two passers by looked at him in amazement as he continued to threaten me and walk away.
My letter is sent in hopes that our towns will begin to enforce their laws and clean up our streets. Or even that dog owners will begin to be more aware of what they are doing when they allow their dogs to defecate on the sidewalk. This does not make them bad people, but they may simply be unaware. It takes a bit of effort to train a dog, but then that’s what is required if you own a dog and are part of a community where we all have to share the resources (and the sidewalks). I’m simply hoping dog owners will take action to keep our sidewalks clean (please). And as for the man who got called out for doing wrong and responded with physical violence, he’s not the first and he’s among us….living as a nice little guy just out walking his dog.