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Monday
Oct312011

Cool Or Not Cool: Letting Your Dog Pee in the street? 

We recently received an email from FiPS reader Dave, who had a messy run-in with his fellow Slope residents while walking his dog: 
Walked my dog on Polhemus St in Park Slope. I let my dog do 3 drops of pee inside a barren tree pit. Two people got out of their cars (I guess they were waiting for the street sweeper) to yell at my audacious ignorance of the purpose of  the "fence" of the tree pit, and that urine destroys trees. I was totally taken aback. They were shouting, and it seemed like this was a VERY important issue to them.

Backstory: Here's where I WON'T let my dog pee: on a stoop, streetside wall of house or business, parking meter, garbage bags or garbage cans on sidewalk, in tree pits with gardens, on cars, on babies, on large double strollers. But I do let him pee in a tree pit that has no garden. And this one in question was so barren it even had a dead bird in it.

My reasoning to these yelling people was that if urine was destroying the trees, then these "protected" trees with their little fences would be flourishing, and the trees without fences (like on poor, hard-knock Fiske St.) would all be dying. 

They told me to "stay off their block" and one of them took my picture, saying something about the block organization and everyone knowing who I am. Then one of them did the "shooing" gesture. I told them I thought something was wrong with both of them, and walked on.

So much about this chapped my lowly 7th Ave ass: The entitlement of these Polhemus residents, and THEIR trees, which are planted by the city. The picture, which made me feel like a playground perv. And the accusation that I was a bad dog owner AND a bad person, because urine was killing the trees.

I've done research. Apparently A LOT of urine (though it contains nitrogen:good) can be harmful on saplings and young trees. You can see damage in what looks like bleaching around the base of the tree. None of the trees I've seen in PS look like this.

Also, there is the common "curb your dog", which to some means have your dog pee in the gutter. Not that many empty gutters around PS, except at corners I guess. And wouldn't someone freak out if a dog peed on their tire by mistake (and i've never actually seen a male dog pee in a gutter). Apparently "curb your dog" originally meant Control Your Dog and don't let him be a nuisance and not poo everywhere. What it means to me is "Pick Up Your Dog's Shit." Guess I was wrong.

So where does little Fido get to pee? According to the Polhemus Posse, it should be the gutter, and only the gutter. Except when they are parked there and have their car in idle for an hour waiting for street sweeper time to pass.

So we turn to you, fellow Slope dog owners: where is it cool to let your dog pee? 

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