Given the choice, i would not collect turds in a plastic bag.  But i do this twice a day. i own a dog, and live in an area with shared green space.  There is no choice.

It came as quite a shock last week to receive a letter from Ms. Butkus, the managing agent for my condominium association, stating that a written complaint had been received regarding my diligence in turd recovery.  After a brief phone call to Ms. Butkus, i learned that my dog was also accused of shitting in the street.  Furthermore, the letter stated that the offended neighbor collected the street turds on my behalf, and was further offended when i refused to accept them.

Looking back, i had almost predicted this scenario back in 2009 as Mr. Pickles and i got settled into our new home.  Needless to say, i was somewhere between royally pissed off and amused when the shit hit the mailbox last week.  Ms. Butkus recommended that i provide a written rebuttal.  i was delighted to comply.


Dear Ms. Butkus,

On September 18th, I received your letter regarding an alleged violation of the God’s Waiting Room Condominium Association (GWRCA) rules.  In that letter, you stated the following:

It has been reported that you do not always leash your dog and are not picking up after it. Please note the association rules state that dogs must be on a leash and the owner must immediately clean up after it.  Thank you for your attention to this.

During our conversation today, you provided additional detail regarding an alleged incident on August 4, 2013. I am writing to formally refute this allegation.  Not only was my dog not running loose that day, I did not participate in a rude exchange with a neighbor regarding a bag of feces.  I wish to enter the following four items into the official record:

1) My dog, Mr. Pickles, has a mental deficit.  At my previous residence, he learned to tunnel under the fence in the yard.  While in the streets he demonstrated no concern for his own safety.  As this was a significant hazard for an impaired animal without “street smarts”, I have ALWAYS kept him leashed since joining the God’s Waiting Room community in August, 2008.  Whether it is for a longer walk, or a brief ‘mercy break’ late in the evening, I consider it unsafe to allow him outside under any circumstances without a leash.  If accused of allowing my dog to roam unleashed, perhaps the complainant should provide a description of the free-range dog in question.

2) I walk Mr. Pickles twice each day (7:30 am and 4:30 pm).  I immediately collect his feces in plastic bags, as required by the GWRCA regulations.  The bags are knotted, and stowed in a sanitary trash bin in my garage, until Sunday night when the trash bin is emptied, and these bags are placed in the dumpster and taken to the curb.  On Sunday evenings, there are at least 14 such bags in my trash bin.  If there is a need to provide proof that I am diligently cleaning up his feces, I would be delighted to allow any concerned neighbors to view the weekly collection.  It is quite impressive.

3) On our walks, I see dog droppings along the street – Mr. Pickles is rather adept at finding them for me!  He is a Chocolate Lab, weighing approximately 90 pounds.  His feces scale accordingly.  The roadside feces piles we find are quite small.  Although I am not a zoologist, veterinarian or trained professional, I suspect that the dogs that leave these are substantially smaller than my dog.

4) As further indication of Mr. Pickles’ mental deficit, he has the habit of walking in a counter-clockwise spiral as he evacuates his digestive tract.  This results in a unique fecal signature.  Rather than resort to more elaborate means of testing, such as the “DNA PooPrint” recently in the news, it would be quite simple for a concerned neighbor to capture photographic evidence of my alleged disregard for GWRCA regulations.

I enjoy living in God’s Waiting Room, and try to be a good neighbor.  I am insulted and disturbed that another resident has indicted my behavior without due diligence, thus bringing my integrity into question.

In the United States, a citizen is innocent until proven guilty.  This must certainly hold true for the residents of God’s Waiting Room – yet anyone can report a neighbor for the mere suspicion of performing unauthorized landscaping, harboring illegal tenants, running a brothel, or operating a meth lab without documentation?   I respectfully request that if there are additional reports that I have violated GWRCA regulations, the individual reporting said violation should be required to provide some form of proof – as a minimum, a description of my dog.  In the age of ubiquitous cell phone cameras, even a clandestine photo of the alleged violation wouldn’t be unreasonable.

Thank you for allowing the opportunity to refute these accusations.  At no time on August 4, 2013 did my dog run in the street.  At no time on August 4, 2013 did my dog defecate in the street.  At no time on August 4 , 2013 did I refuse to accept a bag of dog feces offered to me by a neighbor.  In closing, I paraphrase the words of the late Johnny Cochran, Esq.  “If the poo doesn’t fit, you must acquit.” 


Daisyfae Harper