(Note: This emailer’s question ended with an angry-face emoji. I couldn’t replicate that, so just imagine it.)

Dear Crabby,

Why do people think it’s OK to allow their dogs to pee and poo in their neighbor’s yard?

The $80 flowering shrub I just planted isn’t for your dog to visit daily.


Barking Mad

Dear Barking,

This is among the most frequent topics I deal with here at the Dear Crabby offices (located on the top floor of Crabby Tower, on Crabby Street down in the Crabby District).

I’ve answered at least a half-dozen dog-pooping-in-the-yard questions over the eight years I’ve written Dear Crabby (including one just a few months ago). And, still, this problem persists. It’s as though the people who leave dog turds in other people’s yards just don’t care that they’re doing something our entire society frowns upon.

That’s the answer to your question, by the way. You asked “Why do people think it’s OK?” And the answer is, they don’t. They know it’s wrong. There’s no one out there who thinks it’s OK. But for some people, the desire to do the right thing is outweighed by the desire to not pick up poop. They just don’t care that they’re being a bad person.

They’re breaking the social contract because they can get away with it. As I wrote in 2016: “The reason there are so many irresponsible dog owners is self-evident: Picking up an animal’s poop and carrying it with you until you reach a receptacle is a gross and unpleasant thing. ... BUT! That unpleasantness is a well-understood part of the whole dog-ownership bargain. You know the deal going in. You get unlimited entertainment, loyal companionship and unconditional devotion, but you have to clean up poop.”

On a global scale, there’s just nothing we can do about it. Irresponsible jerks have always existed and always will. But in your specific case — someone letting their dog soil your beautiful new shrub daily — it might be worth trying to catch them in the act.

I don’t know how much free time you have, but if I were you I’d be tempted to do an old-fashioned stakeout. You could have fun with it. Park across the street with a cooler full of beer, a bunch of snacks and a good book. You can even get a trench coat and one of those fake-nose-and-mustache things. Then just wait. And when you see the dog do its thing, you approach your neighbor and explain that isn’t allowed anymore. (There are city codes about it, so you can literally call the authorities.)

Barring a stakeout, you might consider a security cam, which has the added bonus of preserving video evidence. Even the jerks who can live with themselves after leaving dog poop on a neighbor’s yard can be swayed by shame and/or the threat of legal action.

Hope that helps.



Please send your questions, complaints and irritations to pmuir@yakimaherald.com with the subject “Dear Crabby.”