Dog Owners: Carry Out Your Damn Poop Bags

It’s pretty simple: If you buy a dog, you buy all the poop too. Throw that crap away.

Photo credit: Virginia State Parks

I don’t own a dog, but I’ve picked up more than my share of dog crap. That’s because I walk, run, hike, and recreate outside. And many can’t tell the difference between “outside” and “the nearest waste bin to properly dispose of my dog’s poo.”

Somehow, these delightfully colored bags, albeit covered in flies and filled with dog feces, have become commonplace. So much so that it never occurred to me to call it out until a recent story out of Breckenridge, Colo.

This week, the Summit Daily reported that Breckenridge officials are considering DNA testing all the poop to pinpoint who is responsible for the fecal matter that’s piling up. That’s right, an entire city might employ forensic science to hunt down which poop came from which dog. All because some of the Breckenridge residents who own a dog don’t pick it up and throw it away.

Photo credit: Justin Veenema

Clearly, the situation is getting out of control. So while it’s ridiculous, we have to say this: Here’s a guide to handling dog poop, literally.

Dog Poop: Bag It, Carry It, Throw It Away

If you bag up dog poop and just leave it there, you’re either lazy or a bad person. Bagging it is only half the chore. I mean, heck, you’ve already bent down, groped it, and tied it in a nice knot – the hard part is over.

Now finish the job! Here’s a helpful guide.

I’m taking my dog for a walk. What should I bring?

Plastic bags. Lots of companies make canine-specific poop bags. Many come with a cute dog bone-shaped carrier that fits on Fido’s leash, so you don’t have to carry them. But even if you don’t have one like this, this, or this, any plastic bag stuffed in your pocket will do.

My dog just pooped. What do I do?

First of all, praise your pooch for getting their business done outside. Also, petting dogs is cool, and there’s never a bad time. Next, grab one of those bags you brought, stick your hand in it, and pick up the poop – ALL OF IT!

Flip the bag inside-out so the poop is now inside and tie that sucker shut.

Photo credit: Samuel Edwards

I bagged it. Can I just leave it here?

No. Haven’t you read anything I just said? Once you bag it and tie it, it’s time to finish the job. If you’re on a walk about town, drop it in a public garbage IF it’s not already overflowing. Or, if you live in a really progressive city like Cambridge, Mass., you can drop it in a methane digester to help power street lights.

If you and the pooch are at the campsite or in a park, however, Leave No Trace ethics apply. Even if it’s a biodegradable bag, you should pack it out like any other trash. Like human waste, dog poop can contaminate nearby water sources.

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If there’s not a garbage can nearby, consider bringing some gallon Ziploc bags to put the dog bags into. It’ll keep the smell down and make it easier to carry out.

I don’t want to touch it. Isn’t there an auger I can carry to suck it up for me?

Yes, it’s the Auggie Dog. This is how it works:

Whatever, I still don’t want to pick it up. Will I get in trouble?

I hope so. Dog poop equals litter and as such is punishable by a fine. Whoever is neglecting their dog’s doo in Brecknridge faces up to a $200 penalty. In one New Hampshire town, passing on poop pickup carries a $1,000 fine.

And that’s not all. Services like Mr. Dog Poop (hopefully not an actual name) and Poo Prints will DNA test dog poop to provide info on dogs. So if your nosy neighbor were to send in the doodie and identify the breed of the poo’s owner, you could have some explaining to do.

Your best bet is buying poop bags and throwing that crap away. Oh, and pet your dog again.

Adam Ruggiero

Adam Ruggiero is the editor-in-chief of GearJunkie and a fan of virtually all sports and activities. From biking, running, and (not enough) surfing, to ball sports, camping, and cattle farming — if it's outside, it's worth doing. Adam graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BA in journalism. Likes: unique beer, dogs, stories. Like nots: neckties, escalators, manicured lawns.