Franklin Countys First News

Letter to the Editor: Pick up after your dogs

There's been a lot of news reports on television and in newspapers like the Irregular and The Sun Journal, about various town's efforts to get people to clean up after their dogs. It's really quite a problem in Farmington.

There are signs posted and dog clean up stations at the entries to Flint Woods (Powder House Hill Trails), Bonney Woods, and above the UMF Soccer field at the edge of the parking lot. The problem at Flint Woods is so bad that the Farmington Village Corporation just posted a new message on top of the old sign pleading with dog owners to clean up after their dogs.

I look at these people, and they are nice people, and I wonder why they leave their dog's mess on the trails? I think I have figured out the answer as to why many of them feel it's okay to leave the waste behind.

The dogs are supposed to be with their owners, and under their control, but they are not. They want to let their dogs run free up ahead of them, while they talk with other dog owners a distance behind their dogs. The problem is, when they see dog waste, they don't know that it was done by their own dog, so they leave it. Whereas, if they saw their dog do it, they'd more likely pick it up.

It's really nice, when a person can let their dog run free, or a group of people can let their dogs run together, but it's not really legal when you're not with or near your animal, to control it or pick up after it. It's not fair to others who use the trails, that you continue to do this and not pick up after your dog. If you don't know if the waste you are looking at is your dog's, you should pick it up anyway, as the price you pay to let your dog run free like that.

Some people bag it, and leave the bags on the ground, figuring they'll get it on the return trip, but many forget, or they think the town or someone else will take care of it. Just yesterday, my wife and I were walking on the trail between the UMF soccer field and the big field along the river, and saw 2 bags of dog waste left behind. Do they think other people are actually going to pick it up and take it home? How rude.

Above the soccer field, at the edge of the parking area there is a pet waste station that includes pet waste bags and a place to throw those bags out, but people have stuffed it until it's overflowing with trash, onto the grounds overlooking the playing fields.

The pet clean up stations at both Flint and Bonney Woods do not have a place to deposit the waste bags, and as the note over the sign explains, they expect people to bring it home to their own trash cans.

The rule for these parks and the whole town is that dog owners are supposed to remove the waste. There is even a fine for leaving it behind, but they know it is not likely they will be caught. In a perfect world, they'd would remove it, but I'd be happy if they even took a stick and flipped it off the trail away from where all the people walk, bike, or ski. That isn't really legal, or the best thing one could do, but it's better than just leaving there, which is really irresponsible.

In Flint Woods, when the leaves cover the ground, it's hard to avoid stepping in it, and I have done it many times over the years. I have also skied through it. It's disgusting, trying to scrape their dogs' waste off my shoes or skis.

When they see others walking, biking, running, or skiing on the same trails, don't they feel guilty leaving it there? I bet they tell themselves it must have been someone else's dog that did it. That must be it, because nice people wouldn't do that, and these are nice people. I repeat, these are nice people doing this.

We all have a right to enjoy the beautiful woods and trails in Farmington without having to side step the mess. If you could see Flint Woods in the Winter, it's horrible. There's the beautiful trees, the white snow, and piles of dog waste all over the ground. My friends and I have stopped cross country skiing there in the last few years due to more and more people leaving their dog's waste behind.

Our woods and trails make our area special. Please help keep Farmington beautiful, by walking closer to your dog so you see that it was your pet who left something behind, and bag it and take it away. We shouldn't have to see that on our trails.

Lawrence Loring

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

24 Responses »

  1. This is also a big problem on the Whistle Stop Trail in West Farmington.

  2. I would just like to add....clean up after yourselves, period!!! Everywhere you go, you see trash laying around. It is disgusting. Clean up your messes people!!

  3. This unfortunately is an issue on many trails in many towns. It is a matter of respect for others. The right to have dog access to the areas is a privilege.Children go on these trails and shouldnt have to walk through feces. Be a responsible pet owner and pick up your dogs waste. Better yet if you come across waste, bag it and take it home and dispose of it, if you dont have a bag then find a stick and flip it off the trail. Leave it better than you find it. Dont ruin it for every one else.

  4. Hold the phone .?in town your dogs waste should be picked up but out on a nature trail I don’t agree. It’s natural just like deer ,bear ,moose.?you asking them too? People’s should take all garbage etc but leave nature alone.! It’s actually good fertilizer for the plants and trees.

  5. There is a leash law in Maine in case anyone forgot. Secondly there are many parasites in dog feces and that is why you should lean up after your dog. Remember the leash law so you will be there when “it” happens.

  6. Oh here we go ,,
    Haters hating everything.
    Lighten up and you'll enjoy life for a change.

  7. Awww, A leash is not required if the dog responds to the owners commands. Of course, a leash is always a good idea, because personally, if a dog charges me while I'm on the trails it will be too dead to hear its owners commands.

  8. Why does horse manure get a pass? Disgusting steaming piles.

  9. Hrtlss I didn’t realize the state changed the leash law. When did this change happen ? I will agree with you on the dog charging part I will not tolerate an angry dog coming at me or my kids.

  10. I always lethally dispatch of any angry birds I see charging at me so,,, is that the same?

    I sure feel safer knowing there's big strong men like you guys around.
    You go guy !!

  11. Angry bird I know I’ll be safe from a mauling my brother was attacked by a dog when we were young. See if your mi d cha ges if it unfortunately happens to you. Like I said in the first place it’s a hygiene issue ask a Veterinarian about what can happen because your dog sniffed anothr dogs excrement. Ever heard of heart worm that’s just one example.

  12. Awww, The laws and date enacted,

    "At large" means off the premises of the owner and not under the control of any person whose personal presence and attention would reasonably control the conduct of the animal.
    [ 1987

    It is unlawful for any dog, licensed or unlicensed, to be at large, except when used for hunting. [1999

    Some towns do have leash laws, but it is a municipal thing not a state thing.

  13. So Wally, I’m part of nature and walk trails in the woods often. Occasionally nature calls while on these walks. Nice to know I can feel good about leaving some fertilizer. Any trails near your house?

  14. Thanks for clarifying Hrtlss I have been told wrong for years. No less by an officer but hey it is what it is.

  15. To Aww,
    Once again you don't know what you are talking about.
    First you mouth off about eash laws (Wrong).
    Now you make the incorrect assumption that I have never been attacked by a dog. I have and I have the scars to prove it. You,,,Wrong again.

    I simply think your "bravodo" is humorous is all..

    So I was in the wrong place at the wrong time around a mom dog who felt her pups were threatened... this was not a large vicious blood thirsty killer dog but ,,,
    Well, i called animal control and we went thru the steps. I didn't sue anyone because I didn't have to (sometimes you do if injured). I learned a thing or two,,moved on and got over it.
    Maybe u should try that...

    People having dogs is part of our world. They do far more good than a lot of whiney humans do.
    Remember,,,, if you don't like dogs you can't be trusted.. lol.

  16. Awww makes the best point for dog owners to keep in mind. Not only heartworm, but a long list of diseases and parasites come to mind that might be present in such areas. Last place I'd walk my dog! An interesting comparison in the study of animals droppings is that many like moose, deer, rabbit, wild birds etc. don't have offensive odors. Most Mainers don't mind the smell of horse and cow manure. But doggy doo is not overlooked, especially when on your sneakers and tracked into the car or home!

  17. Angry Birds, I was 10, I had my stomach and diaphragm torn open by an at large dog, it left an impression that never went away, so yeah, seeing a dog at large sets my teeth on edge.

  18. Captain Planet
    There are many trails around my house and houses I own throughout Franklin County . You’ve probably been by or on one. I don’t post it and yes you’re welcome to use them whenever you’d like. That’s what true Mainers do.

  19. I’ll try this for a second time. @ You can’t be trusted. Im assuming you’re the angry bird person. Anyway my brother wasn’t attacked by a mom dog with puppies he was attacked by a male dog who almost took his eye and half his cheek. The point of this article is to leash your dog so you can pick up their crap and they don’t have the chance to go after someone they may dislike (it happens as dogs are great judges of character). I did learn something from my brothers attack and it was always be ready to defend myself or kids around ANY dog or animal. Lastly I have a dog and she is great as does my brother he has a few. So how about you just pay attention to the point of the article and not try stirring the pot arguing about a comment that was said between two other people. You do know your free to ignore certain comments and just state your opinion on the actual article.....

  20. Hey guys and gals, check out this. I believe the original licensing of dogs was to help pay damages they might cause(killing chickens, sheep,etc.) and the license to roam at large.Now we have a lawforbidding the right to roam at large.Contradiction, shouldn't the license law be changed,why license if you have to keep the pup on leash? Or within controlled distance at all times?

    Animal Control Ordinance

    4-1.7 Duty to Dispose of Feces
    It shall be a violation of this article for any person who owns, possesses, or
    controls a dog to fail immediately to remove and dispose of any feces left by
    his or her dog on any street, sidewalk, publicly owned property or private
    property of another.

  22. I have had several large dogs, always walked on leash and poops picked up. A good dog person always has an empty bag in their pocket. The only issues we've ever had was dogs who were not on leash or under owner control. Just because your dog is friendly with other dogs, mine on the leash may not be. The price I pay for licensing my dog is small and is used to the benefit of many dogs. I would gladly pay more. Being on a leash also keeps your dog's safe.

  23. Yes, believe it or not, there are people who

    - don't like dogs
    - are afraid of dogs
    - lack responsibility or common sense
    - are disrespectful of the environment
    - disregard many rules/laws

  24. Yes, in fact there are people who,

    Don't like "other" people
    Are afraid of "other" people
    Are intolerant of "other" peoples ideas
    Avoid direct communication with the "other" people
    Lack responsibility and common sense
    Think the whole world revolves around them
    Demand that the "other" people change
    Are "activists"
    Are hypocrites....

    Dogs are smarter than people.
    Some people struggle with that...