Sunday, January 4, 2009

Catching the Pooper: Part 1

Alright... I love living downtown. It's very pedestrian friendly. I live a block away from a park, which means I'm on the dog-walk path for a lot of urbanites who have to walk their dog every day because they don't have big suburban yards.

I've reached the breaking point with the dog poop though. Something about the little strip of lawn in front of my house really screams "Shit on me" to doggies. I once caught a guy ditching his dog poop on my lawn (even worse, it was doggy diarrhea). I yelled at him "Hey, why don't you clean this up" & he embarrassingly scurried away. I started to discretely follow him... my intention being to find out where he lives so I could return his poop to his doorstep later. Unfortunately I was late to be somewhere, so had to abandon pursuit.

I've tried to ask nicely too. I put a sign out asking people to pick up their poop, with baggies attached. A week later, someone tore that down & I didn't notice any letup in the doggy-bombs. I keep an eye out for people walking dogs now. Some of them look sneaky, they'll cross the street if I'm out front. I intend to ask them "Hey, do you have a bag? Ok just checking". What could I do if I caught someone... report them? To who? I asked at a recent neigbhorhood association meeting when a police officer visited & I learned the city resident has no recourse for poop violators. The city code says it's prohibited, but there is no stated fine. Even worse... a police officer would need to witness the poop violation in person for any type of citing to occur.

Things haven't gotten better. Just see this photo of my lawn this morning - with poop highlighted.


So, I've taken it upon myself to identify & shame to poopers. It is a mission - a matter of principle. Fortunately, with a little technical know-how... the tools are readily available to make this happen:
  1. Webcam
    This afternoon, I dug out an old Logitech USB webcam I had in the back of a closet. I can prop this bad boy in a window for a clear view of the poop target zone.
  2. Monitoring software
    Every day, I find a new reason to love Ubuntu Linux. ZoneMinder is the latest reason. This free public license software can turn webcams into an advanced motion-activated security monitoring system. Very cool!

I've already tested out the equipment & software. It works great. All I'm waiting on now is the USB extension cable I ordered online. In a few days, poopers beware! Stay tuned for results of my mission...

5 comments:

JJ said...

When my father had the same problem at his house, he scooped it up with a shovel and dropped it on the guy's front yard. You could have tied this to your blug about your gun. You could have tested it on the guy who's dog was pooping in the yard. Firing a shot in the air would have gotten his attention. But in all seriousness, Mayor KJ should support a low that proposes stiff fines for dog owners whose dogs shit on people's yards without cleanup.

Enid Gonzalez said...

Any leads? I think my parents would love this blog. They have the same issue going on in SC.

JT said...

Even if you do find out who does it, or get a picture are you going to post it somewhere?

Steve V said...

Stay tuned...

My motion-detector doggy trap is up & running daily. Now, it's just a matter of time.

When I catch them on camera, it will be posted (on the blog, on my neighborhood association, maybe signs around the neighborhood even).

I have a suspect in mind. I've seen a neighbor letting their dog out without a leash. Furthermore, my new neighbor just put in sod between me & the suspect... and now he's being shit on instead of me.

If you look at my window, you can see a little camera in there... but hopefully the culprit will not notice.

Steve V said...

A sample clip from my setup:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6IA1-FDRXXM