The signs “Post No Bills,” “Active Driveway” and “Alternate Side Parking” are all fairly common and relatively self-explanatory in urban settings. Other equally common signs we see in suburban communities throughout the U.S. related to pets are: “Curb Your Dog,” “Please Clean Up After Your Dog,” or “All Pets Must Be on a Leash.”
Well, in New Jersey it all depends on the town you live in and sadly, while the ordinance that deals with picking up after your pet varies little from neighborhood to neighborhood, the signage and cleanliness of the sidewalks certainly can and do vary. This variance in pet waste has to do with a few factors: The number of dog-friendly buildings in one area, proximity to green spaces and dog runs, and the all-important “responsibility quotient” of dog owners in the community. All it takes is for a few individuals to start the downward spiral of pet owners not picking up after their pets and it becomes a messy problem, so to speak, creating a rift between those who love animals and those who don’t.
While it may be hard for dog lovers to believe there are people out there who are either indifferent to or even have a dislike for dogs, it's important to respect the fact that they do indeed exist and as such, try to respect them while taking their dogs for a stroll or to do their “business” outing.
Former board member at Stonegate at Watchung Fred Marks says pet waste was a major topic at every board meeting. “We were always trying to find a solution for residents that didn’t pick up after their dogs,” says Marks. “We put warnings in the monthly minutes letter stating that any residents caught not picking up after their dog would be subject to a $25 dollar fine. It didn’t work. We sent certified letters to dog owners asking them to pick up after their dogs. Nothing worked. To this day, we still have not found a solution.”
According to Daniel Emmer, communications manager for the New Jersey State Department of Health, there are approximately two million dogs in the state. When responsible owners take their dogs out to do their business, it’s a fairly routine process. Start with “curbing your dog.” This generally means bringing your dog to the curb to do their business. It’s a wonderful sentiment and actually works fairly often, but it is not foolproof. When curbing is not an option the next best thing is to (at least) guide them to a spot that is as out of the way as possible and hopefully they will do their “thing” there.