Confessions of a law-abiding dog owner

I’ll admit it: when the city passed a leash law, I was as frustrated as all the other dog owners who’d enjoyed regular off-leash walks or runs down the Rivanna Greenbelt. Taking a well-behaved but hydrophilic Labrador Retriever for a leashed walk along a beautiful body of water seems crueler than just leaving her at home to play in the yard.
    Since I work full time and have a two-year-old who goes to bed by 7:30pm, I haven’t gone back to Riverview since the leash law took effect. Just call me one of the leash law casualties.
    But don’t cry for me— or my pooch. My husband and I recently moved to two acres in the county and are both fortunate to be able to bring our dog to work, so her life is anything but sad and lonely. Taking her for downtown walks, however, has become a chore one step beyond odious.
    Large dog that she is, her excrement is, well, large.
On our lunchtime strolls on side streets around the Downtown Mall, she unfailingly makes a deposit on some pristine lawn (far better than right next to an outdoor café!), and I use a plastic bag to scoop up the damage. But then what?
    Unless I’m in one of the two downtown parks or on the Mall proper, I have at least a two- or three-block walk carrying a steaming bag of nastiness before I can find an acceptable receptacle. This is almost enough to convince me that leaving it where it first landed is a preferable solution— pedestrians be damned! But, like a good citizen, I always pick up.
    The question is, couldn’t the City place public trash cans at regular intervals? Wouldn’t this ease the burden of the poop scooper and reduce the likelihood of litter?
    It’s not gonna happen, according to Pat Plocek, parks manager for the City. “It costs the city so much to put out trash cans,” Plocek told me. “They mainly put them where there’s a problem with trash.”
    So I guess all I can do is offer fair warning. If you see me and my dog coming, and I’m carrying a white plastic bag held far away from my body, take my advice and cross the street… I won’t take it personally.