Culture Question:

Will people in the West clean it after
their pets dumped when they wander
with their pets? 

(posted: Sep 2009)

Many people will clean up after their pet, and many of them will not. It depends on the person and their sense of responsibility.

While there is some limited debate (1) on whether this should be the dog owners’ (this is mostly as issue with dogs, as opposed to other pets) responsibility, in general, those who think dogs owners should clean up after their pets vastly outnumber those who don’t. No one wants to step in dog poop, or smell it, or see it in their yard, or in a park, or on the sidewalk. There is also now an awareness of the health and hygiene issues around dog poop – it can carry parasites and other things that contaminate. Therefore dog poop shouldn’t be left in public places where people can have contact with it.

This expectation that people should pick up after their dogs has led many cities to pass laws making it illegal for dog owners not to pick up after their animals. These are often referred to as “pooper scooper” laws. Usually breaking a “pooper scooper” law will result in a fine.

Here is an example of a typical “pooper scooper” law from a city in Tasmania, Australia:

Having dogs on beaches and in streets and parks can result in excrement being left behind. In the interest of public health, and the general cleanliness of the City's public places, owners/carers are required to clean up after their dog.

Cleaning up after our dogCouncil has placed purpose built bins on Council controlled beaches, parks and walkways to encourage dog owners to "scoop-up" after their dog and dispose of the excrement in a responsible manner.

If you do not clean up after your dog you can be fined. (2)

David and I always clean up after our dog, GouGou, here on campus because we feel it is the right thing to do, and to show our respect for our neighbours. It is convenient and easy, just use a plastic bag to pick up the poop, tie the bag closed and then drop it in the garbage.

Dog clean up in China
Even some Chinese people clean up after their dogs, so it is not just a Western behavior.




GouGou on boat








  1. Helium, “Debate: Are "pooper scooper" laws fair to pet owners?” (, 17-Sep-2009
  1. Clarence City Council, “Am I obliged to clean up after my dog?”, (, 17-Sep-2009

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No dogs pooping sign

Further Reading:

Dangers of Not Picking Up After Your Dog