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Your space: Pune needs responsible pet parents

Owning a pet is not only a commitment, but also a responsibility. Pavements littered with pet poop are a nightmare for pedestrians and sanitary workers. It is also a health hazard. It contains different types of pathogens which remain till the poop heats up and dries out. It is mandatory for pet parents in the developed world to pick up after their pets and dispose of the poop according to local laws. 

pune Updated: May 20, 2018 16:50 IST
Prachi Bari
Prachi Bari
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,responsible pet parents,commitment
A pet dog defecates near the footpath on Boat Club road in Pune.(Sanket Wankhade/HT PHOTO)

Scoop the poop and reuse for compost

Owning a pet is not only a commitment, but also a responsibility. Pavements littered with pet poop are a nightmare for pedestrians and sanitary workers. It is also a health hazard. It contains different types of pathogens which remain till the poop heats up and dries out. It is mandatory for pet parents in the developed world to pick up after their pets and dispose of the poop according to local laws.

I have been picking up after my pets ever since I realised how disgusting it is to step on poop. While walking my dogs on the street, I always carry a pooper scooper (available in most pet stores in Pune). The problem is disposing of this poop once it's picked up. The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has not made any arrangement for the disposal of pet poop. I carry it home in a plastic bag and then flush it down the toilet, but this isn't ideal, since it involves plastic bags which need to be disposed of too. Mostly, I just pick it up and dump it under a tree or in a grassy patch where people can't step on it. It dries up and gets composted naturally.

If Pune wants to be a smart city, one of the issues which need to be tackled is pet poop. Pet owners must pick up after their dogs, preferably in bags made of biodegradable material. The PMC must think of some smart and convenient solutions for the disposal of poop. They should invest in simple composting units which can be kept along the road. Dog poop has high nitrogen levels, hence can't be thrown into regular leaf litter compost. Special units with carbon rich additives like sawdust can be designed especially for dog poop. Pet owners can throw their bags with poop into these units. The compost from this unit cannot be sent to agricultural farms, but can be used in PMC gardens and parks.

Picking up after pets must be made mandatory with heavy fines for littering. The civic authorities must also set up innovative and convenient methods for disposal of this poop.

Sushma Date, Prabhat road.

Sushma Date uses the scoop to clean up the dog poop on Prabhat road. (Sanket Wankhade/HT PHOTO)

Gardens not open lavatories, scoop it up!

I have a five-year-old labrador named Scotty who has been with my family since he was six months of age. He is family and spending time with him every morning before going to work is very important. It is during this time that I take him out for a walk and let him relieve himself at a special pet garden in our society . A lot of pet parents visit the garden to do the same, but only a few choose to clean up after. The reality is that most societies do not allow pets due to noise and cleanliness issues and yet, my society is cooperative and has even provided a garden for pets which most people misuse. The common belief that has emerged amongst pet parents is that the garden is a dumping ground or open toilet for dogs. That is not true. It is to allow them play and socialise with other dogs, while people scared or unwilling to be in close proximity to dogs don't have to share the main garden with them. Most people with pets are owners, not parents. Parenthood calls for responsibility and care for your pet. Cleaning up after them is a crucial part of the process. For many, pet parenting is just a fascination, and many more are not fully aware of how things are done in the first place. For instance, for this issue, a lot of new products like the poop-scooper are available in the market, making it very easy to scoop up poop. Initially, I would have to use a plastic bag to collect and dispose of it, but the scooper makes it much easier. Also, a lot of societies have strict policies as well and have installed the cleaners and scoopers for people to avail. I am trying to establish, something similar here.

Abhimanyu Sarkar, (IT professional) resident of Magarpatta

You clean your house, how are roads different?

I recently lost my dog, but I used to scoop my pet’s poop because I did not want to dirty the place where other people and pets walk through. Just trying to do my bit as a responsible citizen. It is important for every dog walker or pet lover to clean up after their pet has done their bit. It is the same as cleaning up your house, so why should the road be any different?

Abhishek Padhee; Wanowrie

A good, hygienic habit to have

Firstly, as a social being, it is my responsibility to keep my surroundings clean. Secondly, I myself would not want to see some dog's poop lying around my path. why then, would I not clean my dog's poop? It is hygienic and a good habit to have. It also increases social acceptance of pets, and helps reduces the burden on sanitary workers.

Piyush Acharya; NIBM

It’s just the right thing to do

One of the biggest reasons I scoop my pet’s poop is because it’s the right thing to do. Leaving your dog’s poop behind in a neighbour’s yard is extremely rude. When you pick up the poop, your neighbours will appreciate your good manners. This is true in public places too because you’re not leaving behind a disease, parasite and rodent attracting poop. Be a courteous person and make sure you keep a poop bag on you at all times when walking your dog.

Juhi Sonigra; Rasta Peth

The problem? Ignorance and lack of stringent laws

Human nature responds to anything negative with either ignorance or with resistance. In both cases , the way out is the imposition of strict laws. That is exactly what has been missing when it comes to pet related cleanliness. While in other countries this is not an issue, here the scenario is bad due to the lack of stringent laws. The government doesn’t even bother about humans defecating in the open. Facilities for pets and pet parents therefore, is a far cry. The baton should be on the parents to be responsible and not cause nuisance to others. Personally, I have trained my pet, Junior, an Indian crossbreed I had adopted, to use the toilet. Moreover, whenever we go out, I make sure to clean up after him. Also, this is something pet parents should take note of, especially when they hire dog walkers. Many times, nuisance is caused due to their ignorance as well.

Sagarika Sinha, entrepreneur, resident of Pimpri

First Published: May 20, 2018 16:49 IST