Dog Walking Etiquette Question: A Neighbor’s Trashcan

Should I be ashamed to throw away dirty dog bags in my neighbors’ trash bins?

A while back, my neighbor was complaining about his overly smelly trash can. He hypothesized, among other reasons for its stench, that dog owners were throwing bags of their dog’s waste into his green, City of Alexandria bin.

It was then that I sheepishly admitted what I am about to confess to you all now: I sometimes throw away my dog’s poop bags in neighbors’ trashcans.

It’s not a regular activity. I have a common dog walking route we take that ends by our trash bin. If there is anything to dispose of then I do it in our own SuperCan.

But sometimes the dogs and I take long, random walks that weave through the neighborhood, exploring avenues of Del Ray we don’t often see. Often on these walks the only trash receptacles available are the large, City of Alexandria cans sitting outside various houses.

It is moments like these where I find myself peering over my shoulder and then quickly throwing the used bag into someone else’s trash.

Obviously I have some trepidation or else I wouldn’t feel it necessary to double check that no one is watching. I’m not exactly sure why though. I guess I fear someone who is very possessive of their trashcan will see me and question my actions.

Am I alone in doing this? Do I owe an apology and some potpourri to my neighbors? Or are there other local dog owners who want to come clean about their dirty doggy bags?

Adam Gerard April 19, 2011 at 03:30 PM
Hi Linda, Funny you should ask that questions about yards because I asked it in a previous column: http://patch.com/A-ctWv After seeing the response, I try to reduce the times my dogs will go in someone else's yard. I definitely understand the concern. Also, I would never let my dog go much further than the very edge of a yard keeping my feet on the sidewalk and their leash short.
Adam Gerard April 19, 2011 at 03:31 PM
Joanna, That seems like a good deal. Though if you find yourself in a bind and you're near my trashcan with a dirty diaper, feel no guilt throwing it away in our SuperCan!
Adam Gerard April 19, 2011 at 03:33 PM
Bobby, that is just awful. If I use someone else's trashcan it's one that is within reach in the alley or placed next to the sidewalk on the street. I'd never walk up someone's driveway and I certainly wouldn't leave it near the trashcan for them to pick up later! I imagine we can all agree that is not neighborly.
Will January 19, 2013 at 12:21 AM
Madison - It's not a soda can, it's poop. If I catch you doing it, I'm going to follow you back to your house and leave it in you mailbox (or wipe it on your face). Then we'll see how innocuous you think your dog's poop is. To the original poster - If you are looking over your shoulder before you do something and feeling guilty about it later, you've just answered your own question to whether or not it is appropriate.
Drew Hansen January 19, 2013 at 06:16 PM
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