Smart scoopers are the business when it comes to cleaning up after your pooch
There are so many wonderful aspects of owning a dog: companionship, loyalty and love. But one of the most dreaded tasks in taking care of man's best friend is picking up its faeces.
Some people refuse to perform this chore. In 2005, a woman in South Korea boarded the subway with her dog. After the dog relieved itself on the floor, the owner refused to clean up her pet's mess, even though another passenger offered her a tissue. The incident was caught on camera and posted on a website. Within days, internet vigilantes identified the pet's owner and posted her details in cyberspace. Known as 'Dog Poop Girl', she drew the attention of local broadcasters and international newspapers, and the ensuing media frenzy was so great that she was forced to leave her hometown.
In the United States and Germany, residents are trying to name and shame offenders with DNA testing. According to AOL news, residents at an upscale condominium complex in Baltimore are fed up with people who don't pick up after their pooches. They are taking action by proposing all dogs living at the building are swabbed for their DNA. Then, any dog faeces left behind would be sent to a lab and tested for a match, and offending owners would be slapped with a US$500 fine.
While dogs can use designated areas around Hong Kong, most local canines still do their business in the city's streets. So, here are some options to help you when you walk your dog around town.
In a Can
If you don't want to have that hand-in-bag feeling of scooping up, the clever Poopsta (www.poopsta.com) is a four-in-one scooping system. It's a long, grey canister with a handle on one end and a twist-open cover on the other. Start by threading a rubber band on one side of the canister and around the gap between the bottom of the Poopsta (right) and the cover. Then take off the cover and fix it to the side, and place a plastic bag over the opening. Your Poopsta is ready and loaded.
Next, place the Poopsta over the mess, press down on the ground and lift up. There will be a 'pop' sound, which releases the rubber band, scoops the mess and catches it in the bag. Finally, place the cover back on and it's all nicely concealed. When your dog has finished its walk, you can release the rubber band on the side and the bags inside fall out. Another handy device is the Swoop Poop Scooper (www.amazon.com), a cone-like shape (above) with a cover on one end. To begin, take off the cover, then slip on a plastic bag over the opening. Next, push the top of the device down and yellow, human hand-sized claws come out to expand the bag. Place the Swoop over the dog faeces and pull the top part back up, drawing the contents into the bag and storing it until you can find a place to dispose of it. A drawback is that the Swoop only has enough space for about one load.
Don't Stoop to Scoop
Among dozens of scoopers on the market that rake or claw up your dog's fresh mess, the Shapoopie (www.theshapoopie.com) is a cross between a garden tool and a doggie potty on an extendable stick. Made of aluminium, the grey basin (above, right) is lined with a disposable, specially designed cup and lid made of recycled materials. When your dog squats, quickly extend the stick so you don't have to get up close and dirty. Then put the Shapoopie in the line of fire, and snap the lid shut when your pooch is done.
Bags of Fun
Many pet owners seek more environmentally friendly forms of scooping, experts say. 'The trend is biodegradable bags. The last thing you want is for [the faeces] to sit in the bag forever [at a waste site],' says Vada Chung, owner of Whiskers N Paws. 'The first versions degraded too fast - when it got too wet, it disintegrated.
'But now, the technology has improved, and the price has come down too. People don't want to spend a billion dollars because it's biodegradable.'
Hong Kong owners can find corn and cornstarch-based bags that will do the trick. When your doggie's done the deed and the mess is in the bag, you will have to dispose of it. The Bag Clipper (www.bagclipper.com) allows owners to clip a full bag to the device. Then the bag clipper velcros to a leash, which means you don't have to touch the bag.
For those who have a plastic bag stuffed in every pocket, Bags on Board (www.bagsonboard.com) is a stylish way to have a bag on hand at all times.
The refillable dispenser attaches to any leash and contains a rolled set of 30 blue biodegradable bags.