New York's Poop Scoop Law: Dogs, the Dirt, and Due Process

Overview

Its hard to imagine eight million people trying to avoid dog refuse on the streets of New York City on a daily basis. Likewise, its harder not to imagine New Yorkers from all walks of life picking up after their canines. Using plastic bags or trendy, mechanized devices, pet owners have become a unified force in cleaning up the sidewalks of the Big Apple. Not long ago, picking up after your Poodle, Puli, or Pekinese was not a basic civic duty. Initially, many politicians thought the idea was absurd. Animal rights ...

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Overview

Its hard to imagine eight million people trying to avoid dog refuse on the streets of New York City on a daily basis. Likewise, its harder not to imagine New Yorkers from all walks of life picking up after their canines. Using plastic bags or trendy, mechanized devices, pet owners have become a unified force in cleaning up the sidewalks of the Big Apple. Not long ago, picking up after your Poodle, Puli, or Pekinese was not a basic civic duty. Initially, many politicians thought the idea was absurd. Animal rights activists were unanimously opposed. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals condemned the proposed legislation because it would impose undue hardship on dog owners. New Yorks Poop Scoop Law chronicles the integration of dog owners, a much-maligned subculture, into mainstream society by tracing the history of the legislation that the Yorks City Council shelved twice before, then Mayor Ed Koch was forced to go to the state level for support. Brandow shows how a combination of science and politics, fact and fear, altruism and self-interest led to the adoption and enforcement of legislation that became a shining success.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
With the "largest canine population known in history," New York City in the early 1970s was drowning in 500,000 pounds of feces every day. In this overlong, occasionally entertaining account, Brandow details the situation with painstaking rigor, as the messy problem turned into a boondoggle of bizarre schemes, red tape and, eventually, 1978's State Health Law 1310, which requires dog owners to clean up after their pets. Proposed solutions included forcing dogs to use their owners' bathrooms, and City Controller Abraham Beame's suggested corps of "Envirmaids," female inspectors who would police the city "night and day." (Why women? Not only are they neater than men, they cost less.) Brandow gives plenty of time to these and other characters, including TV reporter Fran Lee, whose "what about the children" campaign pushed the theory (later debunked) that dog feces exposure would cause blindness in kids, and the work of more level-headed, well-intentioned neighborhood groups. Unfortunately, constant digressions drag the narrative, exploding the text to encyclopedic length. Even dog-owning Manhattan natives will have their patience tested plodding through the bill's inevitable ratification and aftermath; though occasionally engaging, this narrative is best suited for public policy students.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781557534927
  • Publisher: Atlasbooks Dist Serv
  • Publication date: 8/1/2008
  • Pages: 349
  • Sales rank: 538,931
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author


Michael Brandow has contributed essays and reviews to The New Criterion, Animal Fair, Stagebill, ArtNews, and Barron's. He has lived in New York for 25 years and has been active in the promotion of dog runs in the city.
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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Ch. 1 Invasion of the Dog People 8

Ch. 2 Environmentalism and Grass Roots 28

Ch. 3 Cautionary Tales: Doggy Politics 101 43

Ch. 4 Keep off the Grass 61

Ch. 5 ... and Don't Eat the Daisies 75

Ch. 6 A Showdown 97

Ch. 7 New Strategies, Odd Ideas 125

Ch. 8 Poop Panic: Pinning New York's Downfall on Dogs 144

Ch. 9 A New Pragmatism 176

Ch. 10 No More Mr. Niceguy: The Final Confrontation 215

Ch. 11 Summary: Why It Happened Here First 245

Ch. 12 Global Poop 265

Afterword: Who Could Have Known? 295

Appendix Instructions for Scooping Poop in New York City 313

Sources Consulted 317

Notes 323

Index 341

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