When a student at the Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center at Vanderbilt University found a bag of dog poop on the center’s porch just days after a protest demanding action on racism, a student group proclaimed it a hate crime. According to the Vanderbilt Hustler, the group, Hidden Dore, called the dog poop deposit “deplorable,” saying on social media that they were “…appalled to announce that our demonstration yesterday was met this morning with a vile act. This morning someone left a bag of feces on the porch of Vanderbilt University’s Black Cultural Center…this act has hurt many and will not be received lightly. We will not allow for the desecration of the place we call home. As we announced yesterday and reaffirm today, we will not be silent.”
A review of security scam footage promptly revealed that the “vile act” was perpetrated by a visually impaired student cleaning up after her guide dog. She didn’t know where nearby trash cans were located, so she cleaned up the dog’s deposit and left it neatly contained in a bag so it could easily be disposed of by a sighted person who would know where to find a garbage can.
The university, which had gone into full investigation mode, issued a statement saying, “…there was no criminal or malicious intent in this action, and the investigation is considered closed.” Meanwhile, the Hidden Dores statement was pulled, with the group saying it wanted to “contain the situation,” and that it had apologized to the disabled student who’d left the dog poop package.
While this wasn’t a hate crime, people who leave their dog’s deposits on other people’s property, or even in public areas where they can be stepped on, often inspired plenty of hatred in those around them. The problem even led one San Diego man to lace his front lawn with chocolate chips, since chocolate is toxic to dogs, to keep rude dog owners away.
There’s no reason not to pick up after your pet and to dispose of the dog poop properly (the Vanderbilt student gets a pass, since she contained the poop and had a very valid reason for not putting it in the garbage). As a dog owner myself, I follow these rules:
1) Always bring more than one poop bag.
You never know when your dog will decide to surprise you with Round Two, and maybe even Round Three. You might have picked up the first poop pile, but now you’re in an awkward position. Slip a few extra bags in your pocket or get a leash dispenser.
2) Keep your dog on public areas when he needs to poop.
Yards are private property, and homeowners are well within their rights not to want your dog pooping on their grass, even if you pick it up. There’s always some residue left that their children might play in, and when one dog poops, the scent attracts others to do the same. You should always keep your dog off of private property, especially when he’s showing those telltale signs that he’s got to go.
3) Don’t throw the poop in a neighbor’s trash can.
Yes, tossing that poop bag into the nearest neighbor’s trash can, seems like a simple and appropriate solution until you think a little bit further. Dog poop stinks when it sits in a trash can, and if that neighbor isn’t a pet owner, he or she won’t appreciate the stench. Those little bags also fall to the bottom of the trash can. Depending on how the trash is collected, they often don’t get taken with the bigger bags. Be courteous and toss the poop in a public trash can or bring it home with you.