Dog Poop Provides Lesson about Community Decision Making

January 2017

Sometimes a solution is obvious, other times not so much.

Condo meetings can, at times, be consumed by trivial matters that overwhelm more important considerations. The following true story, from a 2011 meeting, is an extreme example of trivial overwhelming relevant.

At one condo meeting an odour was noted. Some began to investigate and found that a large dog left a pile in the corner of the room. It was then that the quiet meeting came alive.

The dog poop was discussed in great detail and with emotion. They discussed the mess and what should be done about it. One person suggested a by-law to deal with the problem. There was discussion about how city council does not deal with dog owners who don’t clean up after their pets and the need for city fines. Health concerns were mentioned.

All this time the poop sat there and continued to stink.

One person who loved his dog called for a vote about dog poop in common areas after assuring all that his dog was not responsible. Another felt all dogs should be prohibited from common areas while another wanted to prohibit dogs in the building. A different person threatened to file a lawsuit if dogs were prohibited from the building.

One person, declaring her allergy to dogs, prompted others to share their allergies.

Yet another person was concerned about what happens if a dog jumps into the swimming pool and called for another vote.

As discussion continued the smell worsened and the matter got more serious. There was fear of a property lien if a lawsuit was launched. Some cited heath code concerns.

As the hour long meeting came to a close everyone left the room. There was no vote, motion or decision. Nobody had thought to clean up the mess using the doggy bags in a dispenser around the corner.