Steve Blog: Pet owners must be responsible

By Steve Phillips - bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Few groups of people get under my skin as much as irresponsible pet owners.

As a frequent bridge walker, I'd like to weigh in on the latest issue involving dogs being walked on the bridge and the dog poop that's too often left behind.

Ocean Springs is currently considering banning dogs from the bridge because of complaints about the problem.

Of course, you can't blame the animals, they're only doing what comes naturally. It's the lack of responsibility among the dog owners that's the problem here.

These are the same dog owners who will think nothing of walking their dog around the neighborhood, watching him do his business in someone else's yard, and leaving it there with no thought whatsoever.

To these irresponsible pet owners, the whole world is their litter box. They wouldn't dream of actually using a plastic bag or scoop to pick up what their furry friend left behind. And that's the problem on the bridge.

I've witnessed the actions of both groups of pet owners. The responsible owners pick up after their dogs, then deposit the bagged mess in the nearest trash can.

The irresponsible owners simply go on their merry way. Their dog's "deposit" is left behind for other walkers to step in or around. Their attitude is probably, "Oh, the rain will take care of that".

Well, that's simply the height of irresponsibility. The rain doesn't magically erase the mess.

In fact, often times other people unknowingly step in the mess and it gets spread on the bridge even worse.

A certain number of responsibilities are inherent with animal ownership.

Owners are expected to care for their dogs by feeding and grooming them. But the larger responsibility comes when your right to own a dog interferes with my right to walk the bridge without dodging what your pet left behind.

Again, I certainly don't blame the animal. It's the owners who need to wake up and solve the problem.

My hats off to the numerous responsible pet owners who do the right thing and pick up after their dogs.

If every animal owner followed their example, there would be no debate about banning dogs from the bridge. I hope it doesn't come to that.

I just wish pet owners would pick up the mess their dogs leave behind. It's really that simple.

I'd hate to see the entire group of dog owners banned from walking their pets on the bridge because of the reckless disregard from a few irresponsible clods.

By the way, these are the same kind of owners who let their animals run free in city neighborhoods.

Urban areas have leash laws for a reason. If you want your animals to roam freely, then fine. Drive well north of I-10, purchase a big tract of land, and set up your own little farm.

You won't have to worry about bothering the neighbors, and your animals can "do their business" on a large stretch of land in the country, without you having to clean up the mess.

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