Opinion: Yes, we’re in a deadly coronavirus outbreak. You still have to pick up your dog’s poop

Dogs can sense Earth's magnetic field, and they show it when they poop, according to a study in the journal Frontiers in Zoology. The findings may help scientists better understand how that strange sense called magnetoreception manifests in mammals.
(John Doman / Associated Press)

This is a public service announcement from the Los Angeles Times:

Are you someone who has a dog?

Does said dog eat food, digest it, and ultimately excrete solid logs of waste matter that are unpleasant to smell and even more unpleasant to step in?

If the answer to that second question is no, I am both fascinated and disturbed.

If the answer is yes, here is some important coronavirus advice: Even though we’re in the middle of a deadly pandemic, you still have to pick up after your dog.

Each. And. Every. Time. It. Poops.

Many of you did not abide by this basic tenet of dog ownership before the coronavirus struck. Fewer of you seem to be abiding by it now — if my neighborhood strolls and those of Twitter users across the country are any indication.


For those of you who seem to be confused, here’s how it works:

Did your dog go to the bathroom in the street?

Pick it up.


Pick it up.

Your neighborhood park?

Pick it up.

On a hiking trail?

Pick it up. Then go home and stay there.

My driveway?

I already picked it up, you sociopath! (You know who you are.)

But wait, there’s more. Once you pick up the poop, you must then throw it out in a trash bin. You can’t just toss it back on the ground in a plastic bag. This is worse than not picking up the poop at all. You must carry the poop with you until you find a bin (one that isn’t overflowing) or bring it home and throw it in your own trash bin.

“But a deadly coronavirus pandemic is sweeping across the nation,” you say. “Don’t we have more important things to worry about?”

To which I reply: Get a hold of yourself!


Yes, these are scary times. We’re all disoriented. We’re all scared. But how exactly does a canine feces bloom spreading across our urban landscapes make that reality any more bearable? Having to dodge doggy landmines every time we leave the house strips the joy out of the few activities we’re allowed to partake in outside the confines of our homes.

This isn’t “The Walking Dead.” We haven’t entered nihilistic hellscape territory. (Yet.) Hordes of the undead will not descend upon you to eat your flesh should you bend over for a moment to pick up some poo.

So do it.

And if you’re running out of doggy bags, here’s a pro tip: A few pages of your friendly neighborhood newspaper make for a fantastic pooper scooper in a pinch. Not too shabby if you need birdcage liner either.

We’ll even deliver it to your doorstep.

End communication.