Noe Valley Voice February 1999

Poop Protester Leaves His Mark

By Jeff Troiano

Someone's been pushed too far. Someone's taking action. Someone's making a statement. Someone, most probably a disgruntled Noe Valley resident, has begun a grassroots campaign to bring the issue of dog droppings to our attention.

Since late December, this mystery man or woman has flagged more than a hundred piles of dog poop, mostly along Church Street, with small signs stuck on toothpicks. Each sign bears a short, printed message.

The first week, the signs simply said, "Thank You!" The second week the message was "Yum Yum!" suggesting the appetizing nature of the mess. Week three's message -- "So Good!" -- seemed to build on that theme. One can only guess what our Poet of Poop will say next.

But even if he stops now, he will have made a serious dent in the canine litter problem, as well as saved scores of innocent pedestrians from stepping in the wrong place.

A survey of strollers along Church Street in mid-January showed just how effective his street theater had been.

"I find it rather amusing," said Samantha Jang, a Clipper Street resident who owns Frannie, a chocolate lab. "The little signs are a creative way to bring attention to an obvious problem."

Jody Reiss, a Day Street resident who emphasized she had no canine or human dependents, agreed, saying, "The whole thing has a performance art feel to it."

"I never realized how much dog poop is left on our sidewalks," added Lauren Brener, who resides on 28th Street with her partner Jeff Demain and dog Django. "I'm not certain if it's always been this bad, or if the little signs have just made it more visible."

"I'm disgusted," said Susan Kirwan, a 19th Street resident who spends lots of time with her boyfriend's Bassador. "All this poop is gross."

It's not only gross. It's also illegal. According to section 40 of the city health code, dog owners are subject to a $27 fine if they fail to pick up their pet's feces. They also can be cited for not carrying a bag or container.

Obviously, Noe Valley's canine commentator deserves a pat on the back for reminding us of our civic responsibility. I, for one, am doubling the number of plastic bags I carry.

But I've got just one thing to ask our mysterious mound marker: Who is going to pick up all the little signs?

Jeff Troiano and his dog Toby always scoop up their stuff. Still, they'd enjoy hearing from Noe Valley's poop patroller. If you are the phantom, or if you have a clue as to his or her identity, e-mail Jeff at