Etiquette is a word that we hardly ever hear anymore. Its meaning, the customary code of polite behavior in society or among members of a particular profession or group, I'm afraid is lost on some people.
I was buying pet food last week and was speaking to a gentleman who is having issues with folks not picking up after their dogs in the park that abuts his property. He even went to the trouble of making poop bags available in case anyone was in need of one only to have them ripped off the fence and discarded. He actually had people who were contentious when he offered them a bag and asked politely that they clean up after their pet.
There are ordinances in every municipality specifically addressing this issue. Vineland's reads as follows: All pet owners and keepers are required to immediately and properly dispose of their pet's solid waste deposited on any property, public or private, not owned or possessed by that person. Any person(s) who is found to be in violation of the provisions of this article shall be subject to a fine not to exceed $500.
The local Animal Control Officer was telling me of some problems at the new dog park; more examples of the lack of etiquette and responsible pet ownership. Apparently some folks take offense to having to show proof of vaccines and parasite preventative in order to use the park. I find this amazing given the fact that it is just as much to protect their dog as it to protect everyone else's. Parvovirus, upper respiratory ailments, intestinal parasites are all very contagious and all very preventable; why would anyone want to expose their pet to these things?
Being responsible, being respectful and being polite are all part of being a good pet owner. It means we take our pets seriously, that we take pride in their care and the way society views them. Given our readership, I know that I'm preaching to the choir in writing about these issues, but at least we can commiserate.