Editor's Note: Mar Vista Patch originally ran this article in April. However, due to the onset of wet weather, we felt it was worth reminding everybody how important this issue is, so we're running it again.
Wen-Chia Parker has the tenacity of a pit bull when it comes to eradicating the dog waste problem atand , where her son is a first-grader. The schools share the 13000 block of Lucille Avenue, across the street from Parker's home.
Parker often notices the scofflaws who leave Fido’s feces on the schools’ lawns when they walk their dogs before and after classes. Rather than sit by and simply glare or cluck her tongue, Parker has taken matters into her own hands, literally. She and a small group of similarly dedicated parents—the poop posse—spend an hour or two several times a week cleaning up the mess.
Parker also offers plastic bags to dog owners who try to abandon the steaming piles. She includes diplomatic remarks such as, “Oh, it looks like you forgot to bring your bag today.”
Says Parker, “It’s disgusting. Kids get out of school and play on the lawns. They get poop on their shoes and then track it all over the sidewalk where other people step in it.”
As a committed environmentalist who teaches composting to kids, Parker has concerns that run deeper than simply sticky, stinky shoes. Rainwater and sprinklers wash dog waste into the storm drain. It then flows, untreated, into Santa Monica Bay where it poisons marine life, she says. Surfers, swimmers and lifeguards become ill from fecal contamination.
In an effort to change the way dogs do their “business” in Mar Vista, and together with LA Stormwater’s efforts to keep pollutants out of local waterways, Parker will be distributing free biodegradable dog poop bags at her home during the Mar Vista Green Garden Showcase on April 30. The tour features sustainable landscaping options and Parker is one of several participants who will host eco-education presentations during this uniquely Mar Vistan event.
As of this writing, Parker had obtained permission from Beethoven Principal Dr. Althea Ford to post signs on the school's property encouraging dog owners to clean up after their pets.
Since speaking with Parker in early March, I began to carry extra bags on my walks with my rescued dog, Mini. This week I picked up five abandoned piles. Rather than feeling gross, I felt good about making a real difference with so little effort. Why not try it yourself?