When it comes to humans of the mamal family we say: they relieve themselves and when it comes to canines and ‘felines, they poo. Poo can be a verb as well as a noun; in this short, silly literary piece the present author shall use both verb and noun sense of the word. Whether it is relieving or paving, it all boils down to answering the call of nature—the thing all the living, breathing beings must dutifully carry out each and every day.
Law of gravitation—whether it be the newtonian or einsteinian version —states that whatever goes up must come down. In the same vein it can be said that whatever goes in must, sooner or later, come out. This is so because the input and output must be kept in balance so as to keep the body a hundred per cent efficient.
Tok Pisin is one of the two official languages of Papua New Guinea, the biggest islands nation in South Pacific. PNG is unique in that with a population of only about 4 millions it has over 700 different languages, TP is a colourful, down to earth language: with a vocabulary of a few hundred words one can go a long way towards expressing and making oneself understood. To back up my point here is an example.
In English there are multiple words meaning the same thing; for instance, fired, releived, booted out, given the pink slip, made redundant, shown the door mean sacked from a job. In TP it’s the other way round. The TP word rausim is derived from the German word raus. In TP rausim has multiple meanings: throw away, erase, get rid off, kicked out, banished. So, rausim wara (water) would mean urinate, rausim black board would mean erase the bb, rausim long wok (work) would mean sacked from job.
And rausim pekpek (excretion) means—what else? – to give out you know what; in simple English, to poo.
Here, now, is the central theme of the present article. It has to do with canines and felines pooing randomly and recklessly on public roads or where ever.
I live in a neighbourhood that could be quite lovely if not for the stench emanating from animal-excretion. Ours is short dead-end street with some twenty households. A couple of neighbours choose to have two pet dogs—one a basset hound and the other a golden retriever. As pets go they are of good pedigree. The nearest neighbour of mine on the right and the next nearest neighbour on the left have as pets a collection of cats that breeds almost like rabbits.
The two dogs have the nasty habit of going to toilet not too far but far enough from their places. And, so, it came to pass that my residence fits their requirement ideally. Here, then, is the daily ritual of my two neighbours: come 6 am sharp, they would come out of their respective houses and let loose their pets. Once the dogs are released they dashed to their favorite spot while the owners retired into their compounds and closed the gates. This is a signal that the dogs are not to return home before they had done their thing. Once the call of nature had dutifully been answered, the dogs went back to the respective gates and barked at a low decibel level. The lovely neighbours, as if on que, let them in. For these two blokes mission is accomplished and all is well that ends well. Unfortunately, though, things do not end well for me. Once the dogs have completed their tasks, swarms of flies congregate at the heaps of pekpek to have their brakefast. One might as well ask what is wrong about that. The feast itself is not a problem but it’s the spin off that is quite bothersome. After the flies have had their fill they would be attracted by the culinary aroma of the better half’s cooking and the moment there is a gap in the fly-wire screened door, they would enter the house at supersonic speed. One inside, they would rest anywhere they liked–food included. This surely is quite annoying to say the least.
The cats, too, are pests. It so happens that all of the residences at our street, except mine, have their compounds completely paved over with concrete. I have left a corner of my yard unpaved. The intention was to leave some ground on which to grow some trees hoping thereby to help, in a humble limitted way, reduce the size of the ozone hole up above. Global warming and all that, you know. Unfortunately, though, this piece of ground serves as a favorite place for them to poo. The cats’ poo also turn out to be equally troublesome. Period. The poo problem then needs to be addressed. But, how?
First and foremost, the pet owners must be made accountable. They must be made socially aware that letting their charges to poo on the public street is quite an irresponsible action. This can probably be done by educating through mass media. Knowing quite well that quite a few of us wouldn’t give a hoot about such educating, municipal codes must be put in place to control such socially irresponsible acts. The owners must be induced to collect their pet ‘s droppings in, say, plastic bags. This recalls to mind what U K M Myint wrote in one his articles—namely, that on one of his early morning strolls he saw an expat clearing the mess excreted by his dog through collecting the excrements in a plastic bag. A commendable act, indeed!
A sure fire way would be to follow the method used in certain cities and counties of US. Owners are required to register their pets. At the time of registration the DNA of the pet is recorded. Once an unattended pile of poo is found, its DNA is tested and the deliquent owner identified. The owner is then fined a certain amount. A repeat offender is fined a larger amount. A third offence will result in the owner being booted out from the neighbourhood. As they say: three strikes and you are out. That, certainly, is a neat way of enforcing the municipal code.
So, then, the question is not whether pets can poo on public streets or not, but that the owners be held accountable.
Now, what of ownerless waifs and strays? They should be locked up in animal ponds where they belong as K M Myint had suggested in a GNLM article of his. Looking forward to a cleaner, healthier environment.