[OPINION] Please, Pick Up Pooch’s Poop!

Tracy Porosoff is an alert “06880” reader/frequent Pic of the Day photographer. She’s also an avid — and perturbed — dog lover. She writes:

Westporters are fortunate to have such a wonderful place as Winslow Park to bring our dogs.

The people are friendly. The dogs are too.

There are acres of beautiful wooded terrain to let your dog run off-leash. And a freshwater stream where dogs can paddle in refreshing, clean water, even take a drink.

Just another day at Winslow Park.

Other resources include a bulletin board of dog-related notices, and a water fountain during warm months for both dogs and people to hydrate after their romp through the woods.

The town even provides trash bags and garbage cans to pick up and dispose of your doggy’s waste.

Idyllic, right?

Unfortunately, some people take these fabulous resources for granted.

Bag after bag of poop litters the park. Despite the presence of garbage cans, people leave their waste on the ground, benches and wherever they choose.

Some are surely inadvertently left. But if everyone takes an extra moment to remember to toss their poop, Winslow’s beauty can be preserved.

So please: The next time you visit Winslow Park, toss your (pup’s) poop!

(Photos/Tracy Porosoff)

25 responses to “[OPINION] Please, Pick Up Pooch’s Poop!

  1. I see this all around town even around schools and the community garden
    Sad we can do better

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. Reminds me of my days as the steward at Haskins…it is so disrespectful and rude. People would fling the bags into the bushes and I would have to climb in to grab the bags. For such an environmentally concerned town that, went so far as to ban plastic bags…this is a disgrace.

  3. Typical of Westport’s “entitled” people. At least they put it into bags.

  4. John Terpening

    This is no different than when I was climbing big walls in Yosemite. There was a problem with climbers leaving their waste at the base of the climbs. Hurled off the wall in a paper bag. The park service asked the climbing community to work on the problem. We came up with an education program with time limits that would eventually either continue to make the resource available to the public (climbers) or not. Three years to make adequate improvements or they would loose access to the resource (the walls). Suggestion…. post a time limit for this to STOP and then take the park away from all dog owners, making it only accessible for seniors, kids in strollers (self contained poopers) and the physically challenged. Problem solved! A beautiful park for everyone to enjoy without the environment impact of a select user group. If the National Park Service can do it we can do it to.

  5. It’s even worse when they don’t bag it. 🙁

  6. Then there are the irresponsible dog owners that just let their dogs loose in the posted “on leash” areas of the park. Naturally, many of the dogs find their way into back yards – or traffic. A portion of the open space adjoining the park is a sensitive wildlife refuge area with nesting waterfowl, muscrats, herons and so on. But there is no fence in this area. Still trying to get the image out of my head of two off leash dogs chasing a fawn they’d discovered hidden in what would have been a safe place outside the park. It did not end well. Parks and Rec. (of course) declared that there’s nothing it cares to do. When it was pointed out that it had inadvertently placed trails on land it doesn’t even own, thus adding to the problem, the response was basically a shrug.

    • Please tell me arrests were made for interfering w/wildlife! Please! Most of us are animal lovers, but I don’t want to hear any “dogs will be dogs” garbage! C’mon people: leash & control your dogs, clean up their poop & be humane to wildlife & your fellow person- let the selfishness end w/you!

      • Unfortunately nothing happened at all. And it was not for a lack of trying. After seemingly endless unanswered emails (or curt, three word responses) from the Director of Parks and Rec., we managed to bring it all to the attention of the full Parks and Rec Commission in a public hearing – where we were made to feel about as welcome as a Walmart. You would think that the idea of a simple, inexpensive fence in just one area to help protect wildlife was like asking for $800,000.00 toilets at the beach. Actually, I suppose that’s not a good analogy. I can’t make any attribution with certainty, of course, but the nesting activity for the Mallards in this particular spot along Deadmans Brook has fallen to what appears to be something near zero. To be sure, the off-leash dogs tormented the poor ducks to no end. It’s really a shame because it doesn’t have to be this way. And it’s certainly not the fault of the dogs.

        • I’m thinking it’s a state issue, like reporting DEEP, & definitely shaming all over social media for any person/s & their unleashed, out of control animals. Photos should be posted, signage w/fines clearly stated for wildlife interference- ducks may not be Piping Plovers, but I’m sure they’re an important part of the ecosystem as far as controlling the spread of zebra mussels etc. Anyway, wrong is wrong & needs to be reported & the guilty charged & fined. Does Westport still have a dog warden? If so, maybe he or she would weigh in, please?

          • You’re not wrong. But when it comes to our parks and open spaces, the town essentially doesn’t care. It just dumped over 5,000 yards of fill contaminated with arsenic, DDT and asbestos in Barons South Park – in broad daylight with witnesses. Totally and completely illegal? Check. Every single elected official in town know about it? Check. Anyone doing a thing about it? Nope. Are the people who authorized this getting away with it? Oh yeah.

  7. We have the same problem in our neighborhood. Dog walkers conscientiously bag the poop and leave the bags on our lawn even though we have posted a sign saying “stop leaving dog poop on our property”, which has reduced, but not eliminated, the number of bags I have to dispose of.

  8. Frannie Southworth

    I’m so glad that this was brought up because I’ve been upset about another path that I walk on regularly in WestporT. I’ve been having the same experience at the beautiful walk at the Levitt by the library along the river. I am a dog owner and lover but I respect the rules of our town. On one end of the walk by the Imperial parking lot the sign says no dogs allowed, and up the stairs going to the Levitt it also says no dogs allowed. After I called the town multiple times to do something , they put up a sign by the entrance near the library turned at an angle away from the path so you can see it anyway, but the sign says to pick up your dog poop instead of no dogs allowed. Obviously very confusing to people walking their dogs with the two contradictory rules. The problem with bringing dogs to that path, besides the fact that some people don’t pick up up after their dogs at all, is the very fine granular surface that is very hard to clean up after your dog without leaving traces behind. The surface is very comfortable for walking and no dogs allowed should be the rule as was the Internet t with the original sign. This particular path doesn’t serve well as mixed use as much as I love dogs this particular path doesn’t serve well as a mixed use as much as I love dogs.

  9. I would just point out that Westport is very generous with its resources, like Winslow Park. I wouldn’t blame all those lovely little bags on “entitled” Westport residents as dog owners and dog walkers come from other towns – and states – to walk their dogs at Winslow Park. I agree, however, that it has become a problem and dog owners need to take care that they don’t loose the right to walk their dogs in this beautiful park.

  10. As a frequent user of Winslow, I have noticed that dog walkers are often negligent in picking up the poops. If you use a dog walker at Winslow, please ask them to do their job and keep Winslow clean.

  11. I love Winslow Park, where I frequently walk my appreciative dog. During our walks, I make it a practice to pick up the abandoned bags I come upon, and bring them with me to the garbage bins. What’s the big deal? Instead of passing judgment on “entitled” dog walkers (although it mystifies me why having already done the hard part, they can’t take that last easy step of carrying them to the garbage bins), let’s the rest of us be good citizens and pitch in to keep the park beautiful. Action beats complaining every time.

  12. Appreciate this post! I too walk my dogs at Winslow and pick up on average 6 bags each time I’m there. Don’t understand why people bother to bag the poop only to fling it on the ground,
    Maybe a sign might help??

    • Addison A. Armstrong

      Signs might help. But, as a long time daily dog walker and pooper scooper at Winslow it has mystified me as to why there are three garbage cans at the entrance to the off-leash area, but no receptacles anywhere else. There is a paved path wide enough for a truck that borders much of the off-leash area. Why not place a couple of garbage cans along that path? I suspect it is just the usual Parks & Rec inertia. That said, there are many non-Westporters who walk their dogs at Winslow, and I suspect that much of the neglect comes from them.

      • William Strittmatter

        Yeah. It must be the non-Westporters because, of course, Westporters would never do such a thing.

        In fact, I know of some non-Westporters that don’t even take their dogs to Winslow Park but pick up after them but don’t want to dispose of at home due to the smell so, instead, drive the baggies over to Winslow park and toss them in while they are in town to sneak onto Compo Beach and/ park badly.

        Yeah. That’s the ticket. Non-Westporters. Bad Non-Westporters.

        • Addison Armstrong

          Do you even live here? Do you use Winslow Park? Do you even have a dog? I can tell you from first hand, daily experience that most people are diligent. Moreover, we are a self-policing bunch, always willing to provide a bag to a fellow dog walker in need. Instead of the endless screeching on this website about priveleged Westporters, why dont you stop by so we can show you what a good bunch of neighbors we are. Nobody is perfect, but most of us try.

          • William Strittmatter

            No, I live in Florida though lived (and now vacation) in the area. I have only driven by Winslow Park. However, I do have a dog that we diligently pick up after. I can tell you from daily personal experience that ALL of my neighbors do the same and do not leave behind either bagged or un-bagged poo. Well, at least over the past 10 years or so. The only time I thought I came across un-picked up poo, it turned out to be bobcat scat.

            I’m sure you are quite diligent about cleaning up after your dog. Everyone should be as diligent as you and me. Your comment about adding more disposal locations was excellent. Why not leave it at that?

            However, my comment, rather than “screeching about privileged Westporters”, was commentary on your (and Ms Laparo’s) apparently evidence free, knee-jerk (and, dare I say, Trump like) shifting of blame to “non-Westporters”. Why?

            Gotta go walk the dog now. Peace.

  13. Werner Liepolt

    This phenomenon is hardly limited to Westu
    I’ve seen dog poo bags on remote trails in the Adirondacks and in Maine.

    That it is ubiquitous is no excuse.

    People who can’t care for and control their dogs shouldn’t have them. They make it difficult for responsible dog owners; they spread disease; they are the reason dogs are banned from so many places where they should be allowed. Leaving litter and waste behind shows no regard for our environment.

    And, really, if one finds picking up so distasteful, one needs to get some help.

  14. Ditto for Compo!

  15. Ok, good- but the chasing of nesting ducks & the dog killed fawn? Poop is poop & can be addressed etc. but the lack of regard for “lesser living things” is callous & illegal @ best and Jeffrey Dahmer in the making @ worst.

    • I couldn’t agree more, AJ. While the town is notoriously irresponsible when it comes to the care, feeding and management of its properties, I remain hopeful that the passionate and tight knit community of dog owners who use and love the park will eventually step in to address the growing list of serious environmental management problems this once glorious but now fading landscape is facing. It’s not too late.