More than a pet peeve about pets: their owners suck

By HCN   October 17, 2022 | 06:52 pm PT
More than a pet peeve about pets: their owners suck
Dogs in a park near Hanoi's West Lake. Photo by VnExpress/Pham Chieu
I have a massive bone to pick with dog owners in my neighborhood. They are indifferent to the stinky mess created by pets urinating and defecating all over the place.

And if someone complains about the disgusting smell and mess, they get hostile and gang up against that person.

Our family moved to Ho Chi Minh City’s District 11 not long ago. Our neighborhood has some families with pets, some raising three, even four dogs. They are used to letting their dogs out on the street without supervision, allowing them to urinate and defecate everywhere, even in front of other people's doorsteps.

Needless to say, this is highly annoying. I have visited their houses a few times to complain and ask that they clean up after their dogs. But, instead of cooperation, they have responded with disdain.

"You just need to wipe it out, it's no big deal," one neighbor said, before splashing water all over the alley as a mocking clean-up demonstration.

What is happening is really bad pollution. As if all the poop and urine were not enough, things get really bad when cars and motorbikes run over and spread them all over, with the stink reaching surrounding streets. I imagine that these vehicles end up at people's homes and the pollution goes indoors.

Yet the dog owners don't seem to get it. When they are reminded that their pets are polluting public spaces, some completely ignore it, while others display their annoyance over the complaints.

The most distressing thing for me is that the entire neighborhood seems to have ganged up against me, the newcomer.

In one act of revenge, they decided to let all their dogs out at the same time and when I complained about it, they told me I was "mean, stuck up and unlikeable." This leads me to wonder what will happen if this issue blows up further.

And yes, I did take the issue up with a local leader, but there was not much help coming from that quarter. I also went to the local police station to report what was happening, but the situation and the dirtying of the neighborhood continues, month after month.

Authorities have demanded proof from me. There were no security cameras around to capture dogs pooping in the streets. Am I supposed to hide at home all day in order to ambush any dog trying to poop in front of my house?

And pollution is not the only concern. In fact, it is one of the lesser concerns about dogs being let loose without supervision. Have they been vaccinated? What if they bite children? Who will be responsible if some tragedy occurs after someone contracts rabies or some other disease?

I know this rant will irk many pet owners, but I have reached my limit. I would actually support a ban on dog and cat ownership in populated neighborhoods.

Without effective legal measures to control the public menace of pets dirtying neighborhoods because of irresponsible owners, they will continue to adversely affect others' lives with impunity.

We hear a lot of rhetoric from the authorities on promoting a "civilized" lifestyle. Decorating the neighborhood with dog poop and urine is not very civilized.

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