Breaking: Many New York Dog Owners Are Clearly Sociopaths

Screen Shot 2014-09-26 at 1.17.55 PM

Yesterday in the New York Times, Andy Newman wrote an article about a scourge plaguing not only New York’s sanitation department workers, but also the entire city itself: dog piss. Yes, that’s right. Our streets are streaming with canine urine, and much of it tends to be directed onto the garbage cans and trash bags that line the city streets, awaiting collection.

Newman reports on what is certainly a daily occurrence in my neighborhood, and probably every other throughout the city:

A dog sees a bag of garbage set out for collection. He feels compelled to relieve himself on it.

The dog’s owner, distracted or indifferent, stands idly by.

And along comes a sanitation worker, cursing silently, or not so silently, as he hefts the glistening bag.

And so it goes.

Except, wait! No! It shouldn’t continue to go like this! What kind of arrogant, self-centered, heedless of the rest of humanity dickwad would let their dog pee all over trash cans, especially with the knowledge that someone—garbage man or building superintendent or homeowner—will be handling said trash can eventually? I’ll tell you what kind: a total sociopath. Don’t believe me? Newman spoke with some New York dog-owners and -walkers, and many only proved themselves to be lacking in any kind of empathy or understanding at all.

David Velasquez: “Why not? It’s garbage. I’m all right with it.”

Hector Saez: “The dogs will go where they go.”

Anonymous dog owner: “It’s part of our urban environment.”

Sure, there were a couple dog-owners who made a point of saying that they never let their dogs urinate on garbage cans, but the mere fact that so many people were willing to admit to the Times that they didn’t care at all about what sanitation workers have to deal with is pretty crazy.

Crazy, but, you know, not really surprising. As a dog owner myself—and my dog is far from perfect; she’s noisy and kind of irritating—I know what it’s like to be out on walks on freezing cold nights when you just want your pup to pick a place to pop a squat already so that you can go back home. But you know what? If that spot happens to be on a garbage bag waiting for the next morning’s pick-up or, for that matter, on a newly planted tree in front of a neighbor’s house? Then I redirect my dog. It’s not that hard. It’s the most basic part of being part of a community and society at large. Seriously, New York. We can do better than this.

And while we’re at it? Pick up the poop too. In the words of the great George Costanza, we’re living in a society here. Be better.

Follow Kristin Iversen on twitter @kmiversen


  1. Unless the dogs are peeing directly onto the handles of the trash can, I’m not sure what the big deal is here. What’s next? The fire department whining about dogs peeing on fire hydrants? Get a grip. I am more concerned about our out-of-control homeless cat population not being spay/neutered or cared for in any way by the City. Or how about we focus on changing laws so that the animal abusers we read about EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. are given more than a wrist slap before they are released again? Newsflash: Dogs pee outside. They don’t have designated bathrooms. Unless you are willing to designate a “dogs pee here” rest stop on every corner, I’d get used to it.

  2. As a dog owner I try to be very mindful of where my dog pees and poops. However, my sympathy for santitation workers has decreased greatly from watching them drop trash out of cans and bags en route to the truck and leave it on the street or sidewalk, as well toss homeowners trash cans around the street with no regard to their property. For that reason, I’m only to happy to let my dog pee on the trash bags!

  3. Susan, you’re ‘not sure what the big deal is?’ Did you even read the article? SANITATION WORKERS ARE BEING FORCED TO PICK UP UTINE SOAKED BAGS. Sanitation workers are human beings and it’s not nice to make human beings have to spend their days lugging heavy bags of urine around and getting urine all over themselves.

    Cat situation: absolutely nothing to do with the article. This is about people with dogs being insanely disrespectful to a very hardworking and important part of our community.

    • Yes, for as far back as there has been a sanitation department this has been true. Dogs peeing is not a new phenomenon. Sanitation workers see and deal with much worse than dog pee.

  4. I am one of these people who try to be nice to sanitation people and don’t allow our dogs to pee on garbage bags or cans. I was not interviewed for the article, by the way. My two cents are these: people always had, have and will have dogs around. Everybody in the world who are not dog owners should come to terms with that. AND START PLANNING OUR CITIES so that we, the dog owners, did not have to walk our dogs around the residential areas. There are three children’s playgrounds within three block radius from my house. Two of them are always empty, kids still play on the sidewalks, but we are not allowed to bring our dogs there. If you start a petition for convert one of them into a dog run, you will be laughed out of town. So while the article (offensively) calls us names, I must say that this town is quite hostile to dog-owners to begin with: most of the apartment buildings do not allow pets, there are very few dog runs in the town, several parks allow dogs on leash at all time (you have no idea how ridiculous this idea is). It would be far more productive if the dialog around the issues of urban dog ownership started, and not finger-pointing and name-calling.

  5. This article is hilarious in it’s half baked claims.

    First of all only a small minority of dog owners and walkers are letting their dogs pee on garbage bags, second of all many dogs are lifting their legs but not really peeing because they keep trying to pee long after they are out of pee. This second fact is something that all dog owners know but eludes the rest of the ignorant complainants. So that discounts 80- percent of the claims here. As for the rest did it occur to any of you that ninety nine percent of the time the pee is going to dry long before the garbage collector comes?

    Sociopaths lol. This article is much more of an indictment of ignorant “belly aching” than anything else.
    The problem of litter on the streets of Brooklyn is a much larger and much more dangerous issue to be paying attention to if you are truly concerned about the cleanliness of the streets.

  6. Kristen, I thought you were reaching by calling these dog owners sociopaths. After reading these two other commenters I must admit that I was so wrong to doubt. This person literally claimed to be happy about their dog urinating on trash because they saw sanitation workers not doing a great job a few times. Hmmmmm. I once had a rude bartender. Now I just love pissing on bottles in every bar I go to! And I write about it on the internet because I assume I’m not only clever to consider this argument but I imagine everyone will agree!!!


  7. i am way more offended by the humans I see pissing all over. Also the stray cat, dog and sometimes human poop that litters the sidewalk. And please, crazy cat people, don’t tell me stray cats only poop under bushes, because I saw one poo right in the middle of a sidewalk one evening.

  8. I try to be very mindful and respectful of shared community and all private property, even with two unwielding dogs. They aren’t allowed to pee on anything enclosed in the short black iron fences; garden-like space; or on trash bags/cans. It is not only sanitation workers, but homeowners and children, who are on the streets, taking out trash for the home, etc. No one should have to regularly come into contact with animal urine or feces, unless you’re a vet, vet tech or pet shop owner.

    Dogs are going to occasionally go to the bathroom in spots where we might not want them to but as a responsible owner, it’s my job to make sure those instances are few.

    And don’t even get me started on dog poop. On this morning’s walk with my boys there were two huge piles about a block apart, right in the middle of the sidewalk. The ONE TIME I ran out of bags, I walked my ass home, got one, and went back to clean up. Disgusting.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here