Why Sydney’s Suburbs Need a Dog Poo Fairy Disaster from below

Text: Charles Purcell

“There’s no such thing as the Dog Poo Fairy,” Mosman Council once proudly proclaimed in its campaign to keep its streets, parks and beaches clean.

Yet it’s a shame that the Dog Poo Fairy doesn’t exist: because some of our inner Sydney suburbs are festooned with more merde that the poodle-friendly boulevards of Paris. And many of us (myself included) are tired of accepting the unofficial role of dog faeces enforcer, tasked with protecting our streets and reminding people that cleaning up after little Cujo is a requirement under Section 20 of the Companion Animals Act.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen people in my neighbourhood walking their toy poodles without the tell-tale plastic bag in their human hands.

It’s a particularly worthless superpower I have: I seem to have some sort of magical radar that detects a dog lifting its leg against the law anywhere in my vicinity. My eye is immediately drawn to the outrage. Sometimes I think I should get a proper superhero outfit: maybe with a giant “S” in the middle just like Superman’s.

From Mosman to Marrickville, from Paddington to Chippendale, someone somewhere right now is breaking the Companion Animals Act.

Heroism is on the line … will you take the call?

Confronting the offender is always a painful experience. By their reactions of outrage, you’d think you’d just shopped them to ICAC, rather than remind them of their role in the social contract.

That’s if they even stop to face you at all.

After the initial confrontation and accusation, you’re all left there: you, the now-aggrieved dog owner, and little Cujo himself, shaking his leg with a satisfied post-crap look on its tiny face.

Ask them (the owners, not the dogs) why they did it and you’ll get some of these answers: they “forgot” their bag, their back is sore, no one will see it, surely, the turds will “naturally” break down, so what’s the problem, and, of course, “why don’t you mind your own business”.

If you were a criminal profiler, you’d have trouble identify a particular culprit: flouting the Act is a game for all sexes, races and classes. Sometimes the most innocent-looking person, the sweetest old lady, can be the worst culprit, gleefully encouraging their pet to purge itself and congratulating it on its efforts before moving away, no attempt at poo removal made despite the risk of a $275-on-the-spot penalty.

Some owners at least have the decency to pretend they are doing the right thing, clutching a plastic bag in their hands, then “forgetting” to clean up afterwards. Others are more brazen, letting their dogs crap out in the open without even the pretence of a bag. These people usually own German shepherds.

I could go on… but you get the idea.

We have unwritten rules in society: one of them being that you have to clean up after your pet. Because the Dog Poo Fairy is just a fantasy. Sydney… you can do better.


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