Poop & Poison (#197)

You know what’s great about having dogs? Especially big dogs?

I can walk any time without fear. If I’m restless (or pissed at my in-laws) at 10 PM, I grab my dogs’ leashes and away we go. When I’m flanked by 70-90 pounds of dog flesh, people will cross the street to avoid me.

You know what’s not great about having two big dogs when walking 6 miles a day?


150 pounds of dog creates a lot of poop. All that poop has to be bagged and hauled to trash receptacles. At first, since I need both hands for leashes, I tried to use a fanny pack. Sadly, the amount of poop often exceeded the capacity of the fanny pack.

Then I found the holy grail of dog accessories: a dog backpack! I put the pack on my dog Fey, who had more stamina and was more reliable than Woofie. She carried bags for poop and bags of poop.

I thought I was the model dog-owning citizen, strutting through my Southern California neighborhood with dogs who sat nicely while I cleaned up after them and then carried away their debris.

You know what? I still got yelled at.

Old white men – because, yes, it was ALWAYS old white men — would eye us as we went by. Never mind that I always kept my dogs off their front lawns. Even if a dog used the grass strip on the other side of their sidewalk or in the street, an old white guy would invariably yell, “Damned dogs!” or, “Make sure you take it with you!” as I bagged poop and put it in Fey’s pack.

Sometimes, I’d hold up a bag of poop to show them I was cleaning up and shut them up.

It didn’t work. They’d lecture me on how they found poop in their yards all the time. Because of course it makes sense to yell at the woman who clearly picks up her dog’s poop about irresponsible dog owners who don’t.

As usual, the people who needed the lecture weren’t around to receive it.

I did tweak my dog-walking routes, though, to avoid certain houses with bored, grumpy old white men.

I missed one.

As I was cleaning up after Fey on my own street one morning, a middle-aged white guy charged us, screaming, “No! No! No, goddamn it!”

I waved my bag and said, “Don’t worry, I’m going to clean it up,” and proceded to do just that.

“I don’t care,” he raged. “How would you like it if I came to your house and shit on your lawn?!”

I could have pointed out that where Fey pooped was not technically his lawn, but the dude was not rational. Since there’s no point in talking to crazy, I called the dogs to heel and we continued walking.

The man’s disproportionate reaction was disturbing, though. I made a mental note to go into the street whenever we went by Psycho Dude’s house.

That night, about 10 PM, I heard a splash in our backyard. Andy went to investigate. He found a piece of ground beef in one of our water features.

The ground beef was embedded with pellets of what looked like rat poison. I called the police. They said that unless we had seen someone or had been threatened, there was nothing they could do. There was no point in even sending out an officer, they said.

We drained the water, threw out the meat, and counted ourselves – and our dogs — lucky. If the meat had landed on the brick patio, we’d never have heard it. The following morning, either dog could have gulped down the meat when we let them outside. We might never have noticed until it was too late.

Andy was convinced the poisoner was Psycho Dude. The next day, he insisted on walking the dogs with me. We went by Psycho Dude’s house. He was outside. I ignored Psycho Dude. Andy, on the other hand, went for the full macho stare down.

“It’s totally him,” Andy told me afterwards. “You should have seen his face when he saw Fey and Woofie. He looked shocked. And furious.”

We’ve got no proof,” I reminded him.

But I told all the other dog-owners in the neighborhood about the potential poisoner. They weren’t surprised.

The owner of champion basset hounds told me that he stopped walking by the guy’s house after Psycho Dude sprinkled cayenne pepper on the sidewalk. Since basset hounds are the low riders of the canine world, they could easily inhale a large amount of pepper, causing inflamed tissues and pain. Luckily, the owner saw the pepper before leading his dogs through it.

Other dog owners told me how the Psycho Dude followed them home in his car. None of them reported finding poison meat. But none of them have backyards as accessible as ours, either, thanks to our corner lot. Our street also has the least traffic, unless school is in session. At 10 PM, no one school-side would see anyone throwing meat in our yard. (Actually, we find Wonderbread sandwiches in our yard all the time, so apparently no one sees kids chucking their unwanted lunches over our fence during school hours, either.)

Not long after I warned her about Psycho Dude, one dachshund owner told me Psycho Dude had a fit when her dog peed on the curb in front of his house. The next day, his sidewalk was coated with pepper again. (Dachshunds are also low riders.)

Andy and I made a habit of checking our backyard for poisoned meat before letting the dogs out.

We didn’t find any for a year.

Before Christmas, though, I walked the dogs with a potential a new dog-sitter along their evening route. As I paused to warn our new sitter about avoiding Psycho Dude’s house, Fey peed on the Psycho Dude’s curb. (undoubtedly she was leaving a return pee-mail for the dachshund).

The next day I found more poisoned hamburger meat on our patio. This time, I insisted that the cops come out and I gave them the meat. Again, they told me there was nothing they could do without witnesses — or a dead dog. I gave them Psycho Dude’s address anyway and told them all the dog harassment stories. The cop said he’d run the address for complaints and maybe pay Psycho Dude a visit.

I was pissed. Even going into the street wasn’t enough for this dog-hating dick. Psycho Dude felt he owned the sidewalk, the curb, and the street.

I decided that I was done accommodating crazy.

That very day, and every day following, Fey, Woofie, and I marched right past Psycho Dude’s door – in the morning and the evening. I never let the dogs stray from the sidewalk onto his lawn, but I never walked in the street again. I refused to change our route, even when he was outside, washing his car.

I never looked at him, but I could feel Psycho Dude glaring.

I don’t know what the cops said, but eventually, a “For Sale” sign went up. The house sold quickly. Our dog-loving neighborhood rejoiced.

And when I met the new owner, she cooed over my dogs. Then she asked if I’d known the previous owners and their children.

“There was a child living here? Are you sure?” I asked. “I saw a woman once or twice, but I never saw a kid.”

She said there was a pink room with bizarre décor. I told her bizarre wasn’t surprising, and gave her a rundown on Psycho Dude’s dog-hating behavior.

“What?!” she gasped. “Over dogs?! That is awful!” She patted Fey on the head, then spread her arms wide. “Here you go, honey, you pee wherever you want!”

Fey obliged, of course. As we continued on our way, I puzzled over the pink room. I wondered if the strange, hateful man kept a daughter locked up. Or a sex-slave.

Or maybe the woman I’d seen just liked pink. I shrugged and let my speculations go, reveling in a street that seemed brighter and happier.

Sometimes, you can’t bring your psychotic neighbors to justice.

But you can outlast them.

The happy hounds from our ‘hood.

Published by

Autumn Ashbough

WF writing about the humorous perils of life with Chinese-American significant other.

23 thoughts on “Poop & Poison (#197)”

  1. That is so sad. We have a crazy neighbor who tells anyone walking with a dog “Don’t let him on my lawn!” It’s embarrassing (he’s sort of a friend). I find dog poop on my lawn occasionally but not often. (I find more deer poop!) Most people in my neighborhood are good. No one lets their dogs loose. However, there is a big issue going on with people bagging and letting the bagged goods on someone’s lawn. Never figured that one out.

    1. I get that people have a right to tell you to stay off your property, and honestly, we have some real asshole dog owners who never pick up after their dogs. It makes me nuts, especially since poop gets swept into the storm drains and dumped into the ocean, less than a mile away. Very bad for ocean and beachgoers. And I know some of these jerks are surfers!

      When I let my dogs run around the school’s field, I wind up picking up other dog’s poop. Very irritating. But after several rounds with the custodian over there, he looks the other way when he sees me and dogs, because he knows I’m actually doing him and the school kids a service.

  2. I actually struggled to like this post due to all the rage I was feeling. Almost as bad as Charlottesville rage. Maybe worse. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Anyway, gripping story. Also, a dog poop pack?!!!! That’s the exact opposite of enraging.

    1. Yeah, it is enraging. Andy wanted to go vigilante on Psycho Dude’s ass. I told him if we ever moved away, I was going save up dog poop for month and dump it all on his lawn the day we left. Hopefully Psycho Dude moved to a dog-free condo and all other dogs are safe.

  3. There must be really something wrong with such people. Here in my hometown I am in one of the local “Groups” on social media and there are at least once a month warning about meat filled with rat poison, nails and the like…

      1. Not only that. Few times a year there are also horrible attacks on horses in the news. There are some sick people out there hating all kinds of animals.
        Our neighbour lost back in the day (18 years ago) also their dog as it had eaten some poisonous snacks left in the bushes where hundreds of dog owners are going each day 🙁

        1. Awful. Yeah, therapists recognize that animals cruelty is just one step on the road to being a homicidal psychopath. The only reason to kill an animal is to eat it. Or if maybe it’s trying to eat you.

  4. I’m glad there was a happy ending to this story! Glad you stood up to him and leaned on the cops to look into it.

    Who knows, maybe that guy was dancing naked in that pink room. 🙂

    1. Or torturing raccoons. Oh, wait, that was a different guy in my neighborhood. Except I don’t think he tortured them, he skinned and ate them.

      Old white guys with NRA stickers on their cars are weird.

  5. When we lived in the Philippines, someone poisoned our dog. He was a dachshund-chow mix, the puppy given to us by a friend. Would it be terrible of me to say that since we never succeeded in training him and learning to like him, it wasn’t the tragedy it would have been if someone had poisoned one of the two beloved beagles we had later? Still, it was a heartless thing to do.

    The pink bedroom is creepy. It sounds to me like their daughter died, and they couldn’t bring themselves to re-purpose the room.

  6. Oh dear, I’m sorry to hear that your dogs have almost been poisoned. When I was in HK, people on the facebook group put up warning posts on regular basis saying either their dogs been poisoned or found some poison-laced burgers on the streets… It’s sad to hear people to do such things.

  7. This Psycho Dude is really…psycho. He is probably one of those people who always gets what he wants, and then when he knows someone is catching on to him, he runs away. He could probably a dog from a mile away and be full of hatred. I really do want to know who else lived with Psycho Dude. Ever got a name? Say for instance from a phone book? Maybe Google has shed some light on him too?

    Never heard of a dog poop pack before. It sounds handy when you want to walk dogs for long distances and you need to clean up right there and then. I hope it’s one that you can wash and it doesn’t stink for ever and ever 🙂

    1. A lot of people who hike have their dogs carry a bowl and water in their pack. And food, too. The pack company is called “Outward Hound” which I thought was hilarious. I never did find out Psycho’s name or who lived with him, but it is intriguing.

      1. Haha, it sounds like if dogs want their food on a trip, they have to carry it and work for it 😀 I suppose it’s only fair since us humans give animals a ride wherever we go.

  8. Wow that is unbelievable… I’m also sad to hear that the police could do absolutely NOTHING! I hope that in the end it was their efforts that pushed dog hating psycho out of the neighborhood…

    You have a very, very interesting neighborhood Autumn, haha. All the stories that come out of your zip code… so interesting!

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