On Berkeley trails: After poop scoop why no poop pick-up?

Berkeleysider Alan Saldich has a question for certain Berkeley dog owners: why don’t they dispose of the poop after they’ve gone to the trouble of scooping it?

“It really amazes me that dog owners go to all the admittedly gross effort (which I exert several times a day) to pick up feces in a little plastic bag, and then just leave it there, rather than carrying it and depositing it in the garbage,” he writes.

“As I walk Claremont canyon and many other routes around Berkeley, I’m continually astounded by a seemingly popular habit people have — bagging their dog s*** and then gently placing it in its bag alongside the trail,” he says. “And to presume that somebody else is going to happily clean up after you adds insult to injury. Who are these people? Well, I guess they are us, Berkeley residents…”

When hiking recently with his two dogs, Saldich says he passed about six or seven bags on the way up and then down Claremont Canyon and Panoramic Way, and he snapped the photographs above as evidence. (What the New York Times thinks of its distinctive blue bags being used for such a purpose is a whole other question.)

“It’s simultaneously amazing and disgusting,” he said.

Your thoughts?

Update 11:20 am: Apparently the city of Berkeley is growing more concerned about loose dogs and their leave behinds, as evidenced by this flyer put up recently at Grove Park.

Hat tip: Brandon Williams

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  • Visalianative

    what crap!  PUN.  It’s your responsibility to carry your dog’s feces…no one elses!  S.F. has removed many of it’s trash cans off the streets does that give me the right to throw my trash on the ground???  NO.  I carry it till I find a trash….change your name, because you’re nothing close to responsible!

  • Heidi

    It’s everywhere.  We live across the street from a park in Washington state and dog owners do the same thing.  They place the poop in a bag and then leave the bag on the curb.  Go figure.

  • Kizza

    I want to second this. When I had a baby, who I hiked with alot, I would have never in a million years considered leaving a dirty diaper in a bag on the trail, even if I was going to return on the same trail. Dog poop bags are no different. It’s litter, plain and simple. I am bummed out at the sight of litter on city streets, and I am doubly bummed out at the sight of litter on trails.

  • Kizza

    I carried dirty diapers, wrapped in a plastic bag, in a day pack countless times when I hiked with my infant son in Tilden. It was entirely do-able. I even drove them back home in my car from Tilden. It was really pretty easy. You should try it sometime! Ain’t no big thang.

  • worm

    It seems that any subject involving dog etiquette, leash laws, etc. really get people fired up, especially in the Bay Area. It’s so easy to be at the extreme end of either side of the argument because both dog lovers and haters are driven my their deep psychological connection or aversion of canines. On one hand, dog lovers value their dogs as trusted friends and endless sources of joy and love that most dog haters will never understand. On the other, attack or bite victims find them scary, which they can be, and germaphobes find them dirty and disgusting, which they also can be. 
    I do believe that dog owners should pick up their dog’s waste and take it with them as it is the same as leaving trash behind. Don’t give other dog owners a bad name by leaving bags to bake in the sun. If you forgot or ran out of bags, kick the poop into the bushes. If you don’t want to carry it, get one one of those clips or pouches that holds the filled bag.

  • i have a cat

    because not everyone is leaving dog crap out? TAKE IT WITH YOU PLEASE!!!!!

  • lagarijito

    This might not apply to the park in question in this article but keep this in mind:http://www.basinrecreation.org/trails_etiquette.htmlPick Up Poop 
    Phew! Dog poop stinks, is not natural to the Basin and others can step in it. Pack a pick-up bag or grab one at the trailhead and always pick up your dog’s poop-wherever it’s left.Dog poop is a health hazard. It also increases the nitrogen in the soil around the trail, giving the advantage to weeds over the native plants that have naturally evolved in the Basin. Dog poop can also contribute to water pollution in the unique riparian areas found in the Basin. Thanks for bagging your dog’s poop, but remember, the job’s not done until you drop it in the trash can. Please do your part to keep Basin Recreation Space dog poop free.

  • Berkeley5960

    ” I don’t know that these owners are all necessarily totally negligent and thoughtless of other park users, but once they let their dog or dogs off leash to romp and play, they often get absorbed in their phones and may not even notice that their dog defecated on the field.”

    Me thinks that many owners like their dogs off-leash so they can be in denial about knowing when their dogs poop, so they can avoid picking it up. 

    I make this statement as a dog owner who ALWAYS has her dog on leash in public. 

  • you can take it with you

    One solution is at http://www.PoopPac.com.    You don’t have to carry a smelly bag with you anymore.

  • Zenloop

    I don’t want to look at blue plastic bags on the trail.  Come on, pick it up and take with.

  • Zenloop

    It is not responsible to ruin the nature experience of other hikers.  Plastic is not a part of the setting.  What gives dog walkers the right to alter the environment (even temporarily) for their convenience.

  • DrJ

    Absolutely agree.  I run on the same trail almost daily and have seen plenty of bags that never get picked up.  I guess they could all be bags that people forgot to pick up on the return trip, but I’ve also wondered if some dog walkers leave them on purpose.  Maybe it started with someone forgetting to pick up a bag on a return trip and then other people thought, “hey, I guess we’re just supposed to leave them on the ground for the poopy patrol to pick up”  

  • Dave s

    The bags are gross. Pick them up.

    I’ve seen lots of dogs with little doggie saddlebags that have zippered compartments. Get one of those and put fido’s crap in there. That way you dont have to hold it, and you can toss it at the trailhead instead of ruining other people’s enjoyment of the parks. Compromise perhaps?

    Sometimes it seems like dog owners own the parks. Try having a picnic Willard park for example. Dogs run wild, right over your blanket, right through your food. Dog owners take an attitude like, “Oops sorry! Isn’t he cute?” No. He’s a nuisance and you should be responsible.

  • Zo Spencer

    *Not a widespread deep aversion to or disgust with dogs – aversion and disgust to dog POOP. Unwrapped, wrapped and abandoned … 

    I hope that’s clear.

  • Susan

    This is a problem in so many places and yes carrying poop with you can be unpleasant if you are not properly prepared but sadly with over 78 million registered dogs in the USA, (think UK ‘human’ population in 2009 was 69 million people) this is a lot of dogs and thus a lot of poop.  To help dog owners more easily and hygienically deal with their pets waste we have designed a dog waste case that not only makes it a lot easier to carry your dogs waste home/ to a suitable trash can, but it also completely contains the odor; see http://www.pooppac.com  Our case was awarded Editors Choice 2010 Best New pet Product by Pet Product News International; thus before you post how ‘gross’ it is to put a bag in a bag… check out the construction of our case and you will see if is a great solution for is a growing problem all over the USA.  Susan. PoopPac Designer.

  • The left bags are rude of course.  Actually the entire concept of using public parks as a dog toilet is questionable.  But what bugs me the most here is seeing supposed adults almost unanimously saying “poop”.  Are you folks all two years old?

  • Nick Mamatas

    Dog feces is “on a walking trail” is on the trail whether it is sitting in a bag or whether the bag is in someone’s hand. Either way, you have to look at or walk by the poop, which is the nature of the complaint you had.

    Also, I second Ted Edwards’ question.

  • Guest

    Enough said. Dog owners use black poop bags.

  • DC

    Poop. Poo. Feces. Turds. What’s the big deal with what it is called? Yeah, I call it poop and am in my 40’s.  I don’t see why anyone should care.  

  • Mags

    That is selfish and self centered: do you think I want to look at your dog’s bag of poop on my walk? The world doesn’t revolve around you or your convenience or desire not to mess up your walk because you have to take your dog’s poop with you. It is owners like you who add to to the bad rap of dog owners. I do have a dog and would never think to leave it to pick up on the way back – I have more respect for my fellow trail walkers!

  • Dog owners don’t get to make up a rule giving themselves permission to leave the bag on the trail and pick it up on the way back. 

    If residents ever do get the right to make up their own own laws that please their personal preferences, please report on it, berkeleyside cause I have some laws I’d like to create to please me.

    I wish the city could pay someone to police this dog doo business, give citations, charge big fines and put a stop to it.

  • It’s flat wrong to leave the bags on the trail, even with good intentions to get the bags coming back.




    Don’t walk the trails with your dog if you don’t respect other humans on the trails.

  • JoJoMoJo

    There is no poop fairy!
    Poop PSA from the Seattle area

  • The dog poo problem seems to exist everywhere in the world! Is is selfish, arrogant and lazy! How hard can it be to pick up poo? I love the snobby people who feel they are to good to pick up their own dogs droppings! Having an ego that big is embarrassing! It says a lot about someone who wears designer clothes, but does not pick up poo!

    Thus I have decided to become a Vigilante and fight (peacefully) for people picking up poo. It is time join together and make a difference. We should confront these arrogant dog owners and! Share your ideas on what we can do to make a change! Together it is possible!

    Left a great note on someones step today! Let me know your thoughts. Maybe I have gone to far?


  • Excellent information, this is exactly what I needed. Thanks. Keep up the good work! 

  • jongault11

    I call them “Obama’s promises” A bag of crap that someone else has to clean up.