Poop Plea

Haskins Preserve is an astonishing site on Green Acre Lane (off South Compo Road) administered by Aspetuck Land Trust. Its 16 acres are filled with woods, meadows, ponds, dams, and a spectacular assortment of rare trees.

Many Westporters have never heard of it. Those who have, treasure it as an oasis of beauty and solitude.

Most do, anyway.

Dog waste is a mounting problem at the Haskins Preserve. And it’s not just droppings on trails and paths. Some owners actually take the time to wrap waste in plastic bags — then leave them lying around.

Some sleazeballs “hide” the poop behind rocks and trees. Others are more brazen. They dump the dumps within sight of a sign saying, “Please remove dog waste.”

Steward Jamie Walsh has posted a video documenting this spectacularly rude and seriously obnoxious behavior.

Why don’t the stewards just put garbage cans at Haskins Preserve?

“We’re a volunteer organization, with a limited budget and resources,” Jamie explains. “It’s not practical for someone to empty them on a regular basis.

“And it would attract wildlife that would feast on the remaining garbage, which would then be strewn all over the parking lot.”

Haskins is a preserve — not a park. Is it too much to ask that if you bring your dog with you, then you take your dog’s business out?

For some Westporters, the answer is apparently: yes.

Haskins Preserve: no place for dog poop.

Haskins Preserve: no place for dog poop.


19 responses to “Poop Plea

  1. Michael Calise

    Thank you Jamie, this is one of Westport’s most beautiful preserves it should be respected by all.

  2. How very sad. Affluent, well-educated people, who again, obviously feel entitled to ignore a request to behave in a gentile and thoughtful manner.

    It causes me to wonder: on which end of the leash is the real animal? Our doggie kicks her back feet almost as if she is trying to bury her doo.

    She’s a good little girl…but we, too, have those pretty little green (as well as those obnoxious blue) baggies that make cleanup easy and ultimately, decent for everyone.

  3. Beautiful place and looks so familiar. I had a friend in grade school whose house backed up onto the pond you show. We used to ice skate on that pond. I’m sure the house no longer exists if there is a preserve there now.

  4. Dan, shhhhhhhhhhhhhhh……….

  5. Thanks for making this plea, Jamie. Although our public parks continue their long, sad decline, I know you have spent countless hours volunteering your time to make Haskins the remarkable and (mostly) pristine space that it is today. Thank you for that as well and I sincerely hope this will help.

  6. Elisabeth Rose

    Dan, thanks for bringing this up. I remember going to the meetings about whether or not Winslow Park should allow dogs, and how it was cut in two. And at the same meetings there were discussions about then whether or not dogs should be allowed on the beach and how the rules changed for that too so they could only go from Oct to March (or April? I forgot), whereas they used to be allowed early in the morning or at dusk in the spring and summer. These changes were made in part because irresponsible dog owners didn’t pick up after their pets, and this was a concern brought up time and again at the meetings. It makes me furious that a new space is given to the public to use, and once again there is a problem. As the owner of 3 dogs, I find it crazy that people can’t be bothered to clean up the poop their pooches leave, and in some ways even crazier that they leave the poop in the bags, since the plastic isn’t biodegradable! It is this crappy attitude of entitlement and not caring that will undoubtedly result in not being allowed to bring dogs to Haskins if people don’t shape up!

  7. Haven’t been to that park but I used to work in that area. Put a garbage can in there for pete’s sake. I’ll stop by and empty it every other week or more.

  8. Thanks Brad for your comment. We have often thought about a proper animal resistant garbage receptacle. Believe me..it might be easier for all, however, in fairness then, every Aspectuck Land Trust property would require one and not all stewards have the time given the other maintenance requirements of many of our properties. I serve also serve on the Land Management Committee for ALT and our volunteers like myself are already stretched relative to all our other life and day to day commitments. Your suggestion is a great one but could set up and unsustainable model for other ALT properties on an ongoing basis. We just ask…that if you bring it with you…then take it with you. Please try as best as possible to keep control of your pets while in the preserve as a courtesy to others also. Enjoy the serenity of Haskins…especially this time of the year. Please also note that Haskins closes at sunset and reopens at dawn.

  9. In a perverse way, garbage cans create more of a mess.

    I was steward to a public space where we used to put out a garbage can which would regularly overflow with all sorts of stuff that people didn’t really need to throw out while there (diapers, coffee cups, etc.) In a behavioral psychology test, I removed the garbage can and the mess decreased by 90%. A few crappy people take liberties without a garbage can, but a garbage can invites everyone to dump their junk.

    As to the non-picker-uppers who leave the plastic bags behind for others to take care of their mess, this is a problem all over, including Winslow and our neighborhoods. Trying moral suasion for this is as successful for trying to get people to park or drive appropriately. The people who don’t care won’t change because they are benefiting at the expense of those who are considerate or even picking up after them. There is no cost for doing the wrong thing, and in fact a cost of doing the right thing. Perversely, they transfer their cost, without penalty, to the honest citizen. Why would someone pick up when someone else will for no charge? 275 bags at Winslow Park wasn’t enough to get that point across?

    The only way is to make the cost of doing wrong enough of a penalty that people won’t. It’s simple math. – Chris Woods

  10. Brad — you are so good to offer to clean up after those insolent children who fail to do so for themselves…just like a good parent who unwittingly does more harm than good in doing for the bratty child instead of making them do it for themselves. We need to help build-up their character and make them do it themselves…or no dessert -or TV -or Xbox. Shameful.

  11. Like when I went to the Gallapagos…Take nothing but photographs… Leave nothing but footprints.
    Picking up litter is good karma…and that I like!

  12. Banning dogs is not the answer….some of their owners….yes!

  13. Why can’t people read signs? Mr. Walsh is quite right, this universal problem is not the fault of dogs. Plus, those serving in stewardship groups have the hard work of fighting invasive plant species and replanting native vegetation.
    NOT cleaning up after people’s dogs. At least that’s how it works in my own town.
    Dogs here are not allowed in playgrounds, sports and school fields and swimming beaches (which reminds me, how often are Westport beaches checked for e-coli?). There are SIGNS.
    Certain (many) parks and trails allow off-leash dogs, and are clearly marked with SIGNS to “please clean up after your dog”. Sure, once in a while a bag has been dropped or tossed (probably by people who don’t want them in the car on the way home, or who can’t read a SIGN on the many park receptacle
    bins). Our parks dept. deals with the clean up of bins, and tax payers are happy to pay for this service.
    Perhaps this is just another example of cultural thinking, as with sharing the road with bicyclists, jaywalking, etc.

  14. Mary Maynard

    People who won’t take care of their doggie bags are probably the same people who don’t bother to park their BMWs and Lamborghinis in parking places.

    • What style of car people drive, or how they park, is irrelevant.

      Littering is the topic that is important here.
      Why do people lose respect for their surroundings and, so, for each other?

      Sorry to be blunt, but America has a lot to learn about mutual respect.

    • Like button Mary and Susan — same attitudes, different scenario — same result — others suffering for their false sense of entitlement.

  15. Carol Buffinton

    So true Mary!