The Dog Days of Ipswich


I was planning on retiring someday. For years, I’ve scrupulously set a little money aside every payday. But now I’ve changed my mind. I’m not going to retire. I’m going to work till the day I die. I’ll have to, because I’m not going to have any retirement savings to live on. I’m going to take my lifetime of savings out of the bank, and spend it on something far more important than retirement.

I’m going to buy Animal Control Officer Matt Antczak his dog-poop DNA database.

It’s a brilliantly simple setup. Each dog in town gets the inside of its cheek swabbed, so its DNA can be recorded. When Matt finds unclaimed dog poop anywhere in town, he runs it through the poop-scanner. If the delinquent doo denotes your dog’s DNA — ding! You pay $200. (That’s 1,400 in dog dollars.)

At just $80,000, this system is a bargain. But of course the Town of Ipswich is unlikely to foot the bill. If I were the King of Ipswich, I would increase the override from $3 million to $3.08 million, to cover the dog-poop as well as the school budget. But given our quaint form of government, which includes niceties like Town Meetings and majority rule and the freedom to rant on Facebook, there are probably too many obstacles to getting a dog-poop DNA database into the Town budget. If I buy it and donate it, who could object? Who’s in favor of dog poop?

Plus, if I buy the dog-poop DNA database system myself, it spares us all from an endless Poop-a-thon fundraiser on the Ipswich community access TV station.

I love the dog-poop DNA database plan for a number of reasons.

1.     It will tell us, finally, just how many dog owners in Hamilton are crossing the town line to walk their dogs in Ipswich.

2.     It will prove that the poop on the sidewalk in front of your house isn’t from a Wolf Hollow resident out on the town for the evening.

3.     When the DNA system succeeds beautifully, it will inspire our Town leaders to buy the software upgrade and start imposing penalties for horse poop too.

The only reservation I feel about this whole thing is the fact that the $80,000 goes to a company called PooPrints. I confess to feeling a little uneasy about doing business with people who call themselves PooPrints and still want to be taken seriously.

But there really is no better plan.

  • Installing dog-doo dispensaries with complimentary doo-bags all over town — a favorite of the Facebook crowd — would be a very special kind of eyesore. Folks driving through would remember Ipswich fondly as the Dog Poop Town.
  • A doggie-diaper law would be even more unpopular than a dog-doo DNA database. And then, inevitably, a new debate would rage: cloth or disposable?

Yes, I’ve heard rumors that Google, as they continue to work on producing a driverless car, may spin off a poopless pooch, but I don’t think we can afford to wait for this. (Also, rumor has it that a number of early test-chihuahuas exploded. We don’t want to be part of a PETA lawsuit.)

In the end — please ignore the pun — this must be done: We need dog-doo DNA data. The physics and the mathematics are overwhelming. Consider the facts: Ipswich has 13,000 people who, for the most part, use toilets. Ipswich has 2,000 dogs — and these dogs produce roughly 2,000 poops every single day, hardly any of them in a toilet. That’s a small mountain of poop. The only practical means of removing such a mountain is, of course, one little baggie at a time. It’s clear that quite a number of Ipswich dog owners don’t like to doo their dooty. Technology — and the pain of paying the penalty — to the rescue.

As for the $80,000: Retirement is overrated anyway. But retirement of Ipswich’s dog-doo dilemma? Priceless.



Doug Brendel lives on outer Linebrook with his two cats and a couple humans. Follow this blog and get the latest Outsidah commentary most Wednesdays


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