The Haven
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The Haven

NOT IN MY YARD

Illegal Dumping

And the town which charges people who leave it with felonious crapping

Photo by Ivan Cheung/Flickr

A Michigan city is the first in the nation to arrest people who leave their dog’s crap in other homeowners’ yards.

Ann Arbor, located forty miles west of Detroit, is the state’s most liberal city. It’s also the most dog-friendly. Residents do more than set water bowls on sidewalks and offer treats at drive-up windows. They embrace canine diversity. Not as it’s practiced in snooty communities like Grosse Pointe, whose idea of “diversity” is a mix of doodles — Labradoodles, Goldendoodles, Cockerdoodles, and Shih Tzudoodles. No, Ann Arbor welcomes all kinds of woofers. Couch-sitters and tail-chasers. Rump sniffers and wiener lickers. Belly flashers and booty scooters. Butt waggers and leg humpers. Water bowl sloshers and toilet bowl lappers. Bed hoggers. Poop eaters. And stinky stuff full-body rollers. All are accepted in Ann Arbor. All are treated with respect. None are body-shamed — not even dachshunds. And none are laughed at — not even dogs wearing the “cone of shame.”

Owners who don’t pick up the doo-doo their dogs leave in other peoples’ yards, however, are a whole ‘nother matter.

Dog squat is a serious problem in Ann Arbor. Fidos make a lot of it, on account of their diets. They eat the beef-flavored byproducts which purport to be dog food. But the bulk of their intake is table scraps. And this being Michigan, where one in three people is obese, they’re apt to be scraps of Whoppers, Big Macs, french fries, onion rings, tater tots, chicken wings, nachos, corn dogs, and bacon cheeseburger sliders. That’s why Michigan chihuahuas weigh thirty pounds, and eject turds the size of pachyderm poops.

Trouble is, many owners don’t pick up what their mutts dump. As a result, little brown land mines lay in wait outside homes, schools, churches, stores, restaurants, bars, and office buildings. On football fields and softball diamonds. And in public parks.

Worse, people don’t realize they’ve stepped in them until the stench hits their nose. That usually happens at inopportune moments. While in an elevator packed with coworkers. In the boss’s office receiving a performance review. Passing the Peace during a worship service. Grinding a customer’s crotch during a lap dance. Reclining in a dentist’s chair during a root canal. Snipping a patient’s scrote during a vasectomy. Hiding in a girlfriend’s bedroom closet half the night because her parents came home early. Or describing what you did with her to a priest in a stuffy confessional booth.

People want to hold owners accountable for the dog-dip their dogs do. But their options were limited. Even if they were standing right there when a dog dropped some Snickers on their lawn, its shameless owner would deny their pup was responsible. The homeowner could swear out a complaint. But the cops needed proof. And the only proof, until recently, was the results of a ballistics test.

This test took advantage of the fact that every slug shot from a given dog’s butt has a unique caliber and grooving. Thus, if a dookie on a homeowner’s lawn matched one in someone’s back yard, the dog who lived there made it, and its owner was guilty of failing to pick it up.

To connect the poops, a homeowner recovered an intact turd from the scene of the crime. Then they obtained a fresh snausage from the suspect’s back yard. SOP was to surveil the place, wait for the dog to eject some evidence, then swoop in, bag it, and make their escape. Finally, the homeowner placed the turds side by side on a white dinner plate, and performed two tests. Determine if the cobblers are the same caliber. And if they are, look at them closely with a magnifying glass, slowly rotate one turd, and see if its grooves line up with those in the other. If they match, they’re semi-solid evidence of the dog owner’s guilt.

Problem is, butthole ballistics tests require expertise, and most people are rank amateurs. To preserve the evidence, for example, they’d put the scat in the freezer. When they took it out, it was an untestable poopsicle. Some tried raising it to room temperature by setting it on the kitchen counter. That got them a plateful of flies. Others defrosted it in a microwave oven. That created a steaming hot mess of shit.

Then a year ago, DNA, previously used to identify just human criminals, began being used to finger dog crap leavers. This was thanks to Code Brown, a DNA testing company formed by a pair of U of M dropouts. CB is like AncestryDNA and 23andMe. It provides trait, health, and ancestry reports. Those are based on analyses of autosomal, Y-chromosome, and mitochondrial DNA. And they’re delivered via a slick website: WhoPoopedInMyYard.shit. But unlike the other companies, Code Brown’s goal is to identify dogs who dump on people’s lawns, so owners who don’t pick it up can be brought to justice.

Code Brown has been a game-changer. People still pause before entering buildings to pick poo off their shoes. But instead of flicking it to the ground, they drop it into evidence baggies and mail it to Code Brown.

CB identifies the pure-bred which made the pup muffin. It even differentiates between close cousins like West Highland and Cairn terriers. That keeps people from accusing a Westie of dropping a squat when it was actually Toto who’d done it.

As for Heinz 57 mutts, Code Brown describes the main breeds in the suspect’s make-up, and how they affect its appearance. For example, per one report, “The DNA indicates the suspect has big Bulldog balls and a Shih Tzu’s toy body. Code Brown’s conclusion: the pooper is a BullShiT.”

Using Code Brown’s test results, a homeowner can convince a judge to issue a PPO (Property Protection Order) which bars the offending pooch from setting paw in their yard.

The Ann Arbor City Council went further: it uses Code Brown’s evidence to arrest dog-doo scofflaws. To do this, it passed laws pertaining to the two main victims of dog droppings.

One is shoes. A person whose dog’s plop befouled footwear can be charged with Sneaker Soiling. Clog Clogging. Assault On A Stiletto. Aggravated Ugg® Abuse.

The other victim is lawns. Dog owners may be charged with Involuntary Yardslaughter. Contempt of Ground Cover. Defiling a Flower Bed. Leaving a Floater in a Koi Pond.

The Council also passed “catch-alls” for use where other laws don’t apply. Conspiracy to Commit Crappery. Failure to Upload a Download. Assault with a Deadly Dookie.

In general, Casual Crapping is a misdemeanor. Serial Shitting is a felony. Regardless, anyone convicted of ditching a butt muffin is sentenced to community poop-scooping. Furthermore, their name and address are posted to an online Dog Doo Offender registry. That’s so neighbors can let them know they won’t take any shit from them.

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Miss Catherine La Grange, spinster

Miss Catherine La Grange, spinster

2.1K Followers

Retired high school social studies teacher in Michigan’s Up North. I’m a Presbyterian spinster, but I’m no Angel.