While walking down the street last night, one of our friends slipped and fell backwards, rather ungraciously we might add, on a fresh pile of dog poop. Luckily she caught her balance, and our arm, before hitting the pavement but it was close. Really, really close.
With that in mind we were immediately attracted to this weeks Freakonomics column in the Times Magazine in which the authors discuss the number of dogs in the city (estimated to be around one million), the number of licensed dogs in the city (only 102,004 - who knew your dog needed a license?), the number of dog-waste related tickets given out by the police last year (471), and how dog shit stands up as a source for DNA sampling (apparently it is very robust). Not to mention the fact that at the end of the 19th century the roughly 200,000 horses in the city produced twenty-five hundred tons of horse manure. Every day.
After spreading all of those wonderful facts the authors throw out the somewhat silly idea that a good way to deal with the poo on the streets these days would be to set up a Dog DNA bank and to have cops test any un-picked-up dog feces so as to later ticket the dogs owner. Gothamist doesn't really care for the idea (just seems a bit silly to us) but we certainly are surprised that there are so few tickets issued to people who don't curb their dogs. You'd think that considering the long list of random things the NYPD loves to give out tickets for that'd they would be all over that shit, so to speak.
Illustration by Istvan Banyai for the NYTimes.