There’s nothing worse than walking down the street to discover your normal route has suddenly turned into a poop-filled obstacle course. In order to dodge the doggy-excrement you find yourself with eyes glued to the ground, hopping and jumping all over the pavement. When you’ve finally made it to your destination, you think to yourself, “How have we not come up with a solution for this yet?!?!”
As it turns out, this dog poop problem has been plaguing communities for centuries. As long as dogs have been part of urban life, we have struggled to find a solution for dealing with their poop.
It first began in the 18th century, when the role of the dog shifted from working to companion animals; as families began to invite dogs into their homes, there was growing concern from the public about stray dogs and their potential for carrying rabies and other diseases.
In New York, this fear was so widespread it led to the passing of horrific law in 1867 that legalized the killing of stray dogs within the city.
By the early 20th century, a successful rabies vaccine had been introduced which meant citizens primary concern about dogs was no longer related to rabies.
At this same time, horse-borne transportation was being phased out, which promoted a push to keep the streets free of manure and garbage.
This pairing of events caused a shift in public health concerns related to dogs. With a vaccination for rabies and cleaner streets, communities quickly noticed the mess that dog poop can create.
With ongoing initiatives to keep roads clean, the first of many dog poop bylaws began to emerge. Cities like London and New York posted signs around the city reminding owners to keep their dogs leashed and to do their part to keep the city clean by pick up after them.
Over time, the focus of this dog poop mania spread beyond just city aesthetics. During the 1970s, a movement called Children Before Dogs started a fear mongering campaign about the diseases dog waste can carry, such as toxicara canis, a roundworm parasite.
At this same time, dog poop was also used a platform to address the ongoing issues of urban filth in cities around the world. As a result, bylaws were further tightened to fine dog owners who did not pick up after their pooches.
Today, these bylaws are still in effect, but cities have also introduced more creative ways to curb the poop problem. With innovation solutions such as garbage bins that allow you to “vote” with the deposit of a poop bag to DNA testing used identify the pooch behind the mess, it’s clear we’ve yet to fine a simple solution to the poop problem.
Who knows, maybe in a few more centuries we’ll have come up with a successful solution to end the dog-poop plague! Until then, do your part and pick up after your dog.
H/t to City Lab
Featured image via: someecards