Visualize: Artsy Bags of Abandoned Dog Poo Around Bernal Hill


Neighbor Richard has found a creative outlet in the little bags of doggie poo he often finds around Bernal Hill:

I submit that these pictures are worthy of your publication if only for the insidious danger and warning to our community they represent. Surely nobody has submitted pictures of s*** so beautifully wrapped and photographed in a natural park setting? What can be done? What shall we do?

Like many Bernal denizens, I walk frequently upon our glorious hill — and I’ve been doing that for some 15 years now. I cannot help but notice this strange practice has been increasing over the past year, and it really bespoils the hill for everyone. It has always amazed me that so many many dog owners are so irresponsible. No fault is due the dogs, but some owners, after using a plastic bag for the inevitable, will not carry it to the trash receptacle once the deed is done. Instead they leave the gift wrapped poop plainly in sight for someone else to pick up behind them. At least they don’t sling it into the bushes (although I haven’t really checked).

These are pictures I took Saturday late afternoon during just one 30 minute walk around the hill.




PHOTOS: Neighbor Richard

45 thoughts on “Visualize: Artsy Bags of Abandoned Dog Poo Around Bernal Hill

  1. I’ve noticed an increase in bags left behind too. It’s my hope, though, that people do the loop and pick it up on their way home…. just a hope…. a girl can hope.

  2. A strange practice, indeed! I am glad you posted these pics, but it still doesn’t answer the question why people do this. If you are going to go through the trouble of wrapping that hot turd, why abandon it?

  3. So gross. Even though it’s wrapped up, I can’t help but visualize (and phantom smell) what’s in them. I try to avert my eyes, but it’s a bummer for the rest of us just out to enjoy a walk.

  4. I have seen people leave and then pick up on way back down hill. It’s still not what I’d call a Best Practice, but at least a few of these gift givers are also gift takers.

  5. I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt — foolish people who think they’re going to “remember” to pick up their bags on the way back down the hill. I just pick them up and add them to my own.

    • I agree — I think the majority of people who do this are planning to pick the bag up on their way back. But I can’t quite wrap my head around why. First, there are garbage bins at either end, so what’s the difference? And second, leaving a bag of poop on the road is just asking for another dog to pee on it, which makes it decidedly less pleasant to carry.

      • No no no no no no no no no no.

        People are using “the benefit of the doubt” to be irresponsible.

        Your dog craps, you bag it, you carry it until you see a trash. No ons is so precious that don’t have to be bothered carrying a bag of their dog’s poo.

        This is more than common dog owner/walker courtesy, it is RULE #1 of dog walking (the other rule #1 is to leash your dog, but since this is Bernal Hill, that rule doesn’t apply).

        No ifs, No ands. No butts.

        CALL PEOPLE OUT who do this. That is the only way to put a dent in it.

        There is NO WAY to expect people to do the right thing after they’ve already abdicated their responsibility to dispose of the poop properly.

        Since the problem is increasing, obviously people see it being done and think it is ok to do. You have NO IDEA if they are going to return for the bag, and that is the reason it SHOULD. NOT. BE. DONE.

        Am I being clear? I hope so.

        I was walking with a friend around the hill once, with our dogs, and his dog went and crapped in the bushes, and he said he didn’t need to get it because “raccoons would eat it.” Rather than argue, I let it pass, and after we got to the bottom of the hill and turned around and were walking back up, a lady was walking down the hill with a bag over one arm and holding a bag in the other. SHE WAS PICKING UP DOG CRAP LIKE MY FRIEND HAD JUST LEFT BEHIND. Well his dog left it behind, anyway. HOPEFULLY that taught him a lesson.

        Again, call people out for this practice. The only thing more gross than walking with a bag full of dog poop, is leaving it behind for everyone to see and for everyone to wonder if it will be disposed of properly.

        Even my neighbor, with her service dog, was doing this, and I called her out on it.

        IT IS NOT APPRECIATED. Let the dog owner know!

        Try to refrain from throwing it at them, but threatening to do so to them when their back is turned is perfectly acceptable, and doing so is at your own risk, but perfectly justified.

  6. Could we get a garbage can or two along the road up there? Like by the benches? Maybe that would help reduce the problem…

    • A garbage can on the road would mean a city truck blasting up and down it. I think it’s better as a completely car-free zone, even if it means more trash.

      • Why would you need a truck? Cant someone just walk up the road and empty the bin into a bag? And walk the bag to the truck?

        I, personally, dislike carrying a stinky bag of poop along that very long stretch between garbage cans. Lucky for me, my dog usually poops right when we get there so i can double back to the garbage can before we continue on. I dont approve of the behavior of leaving the bags behind, but i can kind of understand it.

        That said, having garbage cans full of poop next to those benches would be gross. I dont want to smell poop while admiring the view. But still, one garbage can along the path somewhere would be helpful, i think.

      • “I, personally, dislike carrying a stinky bag of poop along that very long stretch between garbage cans. ”

        There is nothing stinky about a bag of poop that is knotted. GTFU, even if your dog does normally poop near a trash.

    • Noooo on the garbage cans near the benches! On either entrance is fine. The smell is bad enough in those two places. We don’t need to add stink zones next to where people sit.

      • agreed. ‘sides if they cant carry the distance who is to sya they will carry half the distance. Its just not ok to leave bags period.

      • agreed. ‘sides if they cant carry the distance who is to say they will carry half that distance. Its just not ok to leave bags for the rest of us to see period.

  7. “If you leave that bag of poop there, don’t be surprised if it hits you in the head after you turn your back on it.”

  8. I see a convergence of problems here which could result in a great solution to both problems. Pick up the bags, wrap them up in a box, and leave them on your porch. A thief comes by and steals your valuable package and you have just gotten rid of the dog’s waste.

  9. Some people choose which rules/laws to follow sadly. If I flicked a cigarette butt in the park and decided to pick it up later people who witnessed would raise all hell.

    I wish the parks enforced the rules better. This past weekend at precita park ONE STEP into the grass, massive piles of dog crap. Sad we suck so bad respecting our parks and Mother Earth .

      • No no no no no.

        Dog’s tend to poop where other dog’s poop. Pretty soon you have mounds of dog turd, which is unhealthy,

        Are you really a community activist?

  10. I have noticed this for a long time. Perhaps it is getting worse. Think people, your mama doesn’t live on the hill . Pick up after yourselves!!!!

  11. I started noticing this more than a couple years ago – but the bags were left sporadically by (apparently) one person — er, sociopath. For a few days in a row, for example, I would find a bag ON MY PORCH, behind the gate. Then I would see a bag on a neighbor’s porch, or neatly placed at the base of a street tree. Then months would go by before I spotted another one.
    Now, with all the New People in our midst, maybe one of Them saw a poop bag here and there and decided that it was a quaint local custom they could adopt to “fit in.” Others followed, as those wishing to be cool tend to do. Besides, it meshed nicely with their tendency to be self-absorbed People of Privilege.

  12. I am the “neighbor Richard” who took the pictures and I just want to say for the record that what I actually wrote in was: that I am amazed how many dog owners ARE sooo responsible. I mean there are like what over a thousand dogs a day on the hill?!! But these few dolts bag their poochie poo and leave it for us to deal with. They are the ir-responsible ones -just sayin ok? I love the Bernal doggies!

  13. People do throw them in the bushes, but there aren’t so many shrubs on the hill. If you take a look in the few we have, including the blackberry patch, yep, they’re there.

    And in most of the other parks I go to as well.

    Some people just can’t think it through. It’s a little sad and more than a little gross.

  14. Best theory is that these curious baggers, but not packers are merely waiting for the “Good Turd Fairly” to come along behind and snatch them.

  15. I heard a dog walker say they do that and “supposedly pick it all up on the way back” not sure if that is true. It may be their intent but they are bound to get sidetracked and miss a few.

    • It doesn’t make much sense when there’s a trash receptacle at each end of the hill. They have to carry it to one…or the other. Also not explained is why the bags are there for hours and all along the dirt road of Mayflower as well. Thank Goodness 99% of the other dog walkers don’t do this practice!

  16. i’m constantly surprised at the number of comments when dog sh-t is the topic. and i’m even more taken aback how the conversation could devolve into a slam on the people who recently moved to bernal heights
    there is NO excuse for leaving a pile of dog crap -either bagged or not – anywhere other than the intended garbage disposal offered at each end of the trail. it’s your damn dog – you feed it – you deal with the fallout. if you don’t like carrying around the bag then walk your animal in a place where there are many opportunities for disposal. .
    furthermore this is a city not a pastoral country lane – the trail is blacktop. Anyway – i bet no one out in the country ever bags their dog’s stuff and leaves it there for the racoons to eat.

    • A lot of people have pets because they can’t relate to people. I’ve had dogs, but I treated them like dogs, not like my children. The other day I saw a woman pushing a stroller with a dog inside! On the bright side (and there’s always a bright side), we as a society are rich enough that people have the luxury of doing dumb and inconsiderate things. I don’t think dog issues are important in Iran, Yemen, or Iraq these days…

  17. David Kaye,

    Well put. This is a problem I never remember being a “problem” coming up as a boy. Truth is, the latest increase of debris reflects and gauges the surge in people visiting the hill. I knew this increase of people would sooner or later materialise as soon as Precita Park Cafe opened up. Cafes call on families and friends who will then tell their families and friends who will tell more families and friends. All will come to the cafes to sit around and chat with leisure time on the clock. Surely all of them cannot help coming up with the exciting idea of hiking the hill; of course! Hike the hill! For the views, cannot forget its spectacular views. Gotta see them.

    Years back, I used to savor the moments to walk up there at any given moment of any given time of day and week. It was a great place to meditate and collect one’s thoughts. I’d Listen to the birds carefully watching my every step so as to not disturb the natural habitat. For example, there used to be “many” garden snakes. Large ones that you were “sure” to pass as it baked in stillness under the sun- undisturbed. Today, you are fortunate if you see “one.” Just one in months time. How can these reptiles come out? They cannot; not anymore. Have you not noticed the crowds of families on the trails up there on weekends? The numerous dog walkers with six or eight dogs to one on weekdays at all hours of the day? This hill has heavy foot traffic seven days a week now. It has no rest. It is quickly becoming a mirror image of “Dolores Park.”

    Just now, I returned from my morning walk and I passed a woman commenting on the same subject. She remarked to her friend, “I saw the clouds out and thought I would have a quiet run up here this morning–I cannot believe how crowded it is.” And get this, today, while I was up there, it was overcast and cool–not even sunny, not even summer.

    It was not long ago that I used to dread the holidays because the hill would bring out many outsiders visiting the locals: no problem, come January 2nd they were all gone allowing the hill to once again convert itself to the tranquil sanctuary it once was helping to sustain the good health of one’s spirit and consciousness.

    Today, this is no more and as far as I see it, it is only going to get worse for we are on a fast track to becoming the next Dolores Park with it noise, debris, and worst of all–crowds. This is what Cafe Precita Park (CPP) planted on us all. This is why I was never happy to see them set up shop here. In the past, there was no conveniences to breakfast, lunch, or have supper nearby. Thus, if one didn’t come ready with a bagged lunch or at the very least a full stomach, one did not spend too much time up here. Hunger will get you to move along and perhaps return another day. Which is what occurred before CPP. And yes, of course the swift recent changes of businesses on Cortland are all contributing to this current increase in volumes of crowds.

    I agree with David because he is right, folks complaining about too many doggie bags left on the road and calling 311 to ask for public workers to sweep the rocks off the trails because they hurt the feet while jogging is clear evidence of our neighborhoods recent infestation of arrogance accompanying its highest incomes on record. To these folks I suggest they try doing what I see so many others doing while walking.

    See debri? Pick it up.
    See a rock? Don’t step on it.
    Too many? Don’t come.

    There is always Dolores Park or the Olympic Club. The latter is farther out, AND is the one I prefer you visit.

    I personally am sadden most by the fact that like the loss of many of the hill’s natural habitat, almost all of my hispanic brothers and sisters have disappeared from its trails just the same. The fact that I read in here-Bernalwood- of how my neighbors celebrate their tragic expulsion or “Gentrification” is painful to me. More so when recently one of my brothers was shot by four San Francisco cops fifty two times (oh, it isn’t as bad as it sounds, the coroner confirmed Nieto was hit with only ten of the .40 caliber leads, don’t know what happened to the other forty-two: “the cops feel bad enough so don’t be angry” wrote a blogger in here) for not looking white. No wait, excuse me, I meant to say “Right,” for not looking “Right.”

    Huh? Not looking “Right?” Translation? Please? You fill in the blank.

    Today, like the hill’s loss of native species, I will be fortunate to see “one” latino family on any given time of any given day. Not only have these families been removed by skyrocketing rents; they, unlike “others” cannot afford to take the family for breakfast at CPP’s to enjoy a serving of its latest, fancy bacon, lettuce, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwich, or whatever they may have dreamed up for the day’s special. What is assured is that any one of their plate’s price is certain to reflect an hours wages of just one of the parents. And that is a damn shame.

    Funny, I just had a thought, such complaints about too many poop bags and too many rocks laying on the trails also never existed when they were here. And back then, their was a whole lot “more” to complain about than what I am seeing today. None of them complained of such little things. How could they, they had life’s real economic demands to fight for. I know both my parents did. Hence, buckets of Kentucky Fried Chicken- the only Precita Egg Sandwiches we might of had were the ones my mother made “before” we left the house- at Precita Park on Sundays.

    In summary, I am confident that it is only a matter of time before a discussion on the quantities of litter, not just poop bags, being left behind by “crowds” of people will eventually make these same pages. The crowds “will” only continue to grow with the passage of time, as clearly they have already. This discussion of complaining about an increase of wastes being left behind is evidence and a forewarning of what is to come. For where there are people there will be trash. And, where there are a “crowds” of people, there will be hordes of trash.

    And vehicles? That is for another day. Soon. Real soon. I guarantee it.

    But until then, I will be here to say, “See, I told you so.”

    • I’m with you on this one. Back when, let’s say ’78 to about ’90, I, too, found the hill to be a tranquil place. Grass grew high and the trails were few and narrow. No one was dumb enough to climb straight up (or down) an incline, so there was not the great washout of hillside due to erosion. (Everyone knows that the section of BHB above Wool – just west of the access road under the “cliffs” – used to be flat and at road level, right?)

      Oh, and that asphalt trough at the base of the hill that runs alongside the road? That was a lovely stone drainage aqueduct, built by the WPA. Some moron at City Hall decided to pave it over with asphalt in the 80s, and then other morons thought it was a running path (despite the roundness of the bottom.)

      So sad to see our lovely Bernal Hill worn down to a nub.

      • joceminor-

        “Ditto” was for your reply. I forgot about the stoned aqueduct. I do remember it however. It was so adequate for the environment. Agree with you, paving over it was cretinous. But then again, it is a different neighborhood….

    • Presently I still live in SF because I still like it a lot. But there may come a time when it’s better to move elsewhere. I have friends around the Bay Area in places as far flung as Brisbane, Pacifica, Richmond, El Cerrito, El Sobrante, and Sunol. I love all of these places (well, not so much Sunol…) and if I felt it was time to move on I wouldn’t worry too much about community or fun times.

      Community is what you make. I have been blessed to have been a part of several communities – musicians, Burning Man artists (which really goes far beyond Burning Man), gamers, and to a lesser extent gay men. I have done my best to help contribute to the community by running two games groups which meet as “SF Games”, the weekly jazz shows I put on at the Atlas (and hopefully also a weekly blues show soon), and various volunteer work. Whether I stay in SF or move on, I will continue to be a community organizer, no matter where it may be.

      So, yeah, the landed gentry are taking over SF as never before (and we’ve historically had many such invasions, but not on as mass a scale). But times change and places change, so I’m not particularly worried. There will always be other places, places as scenic as SF with folks as quirky (anybody remember Sally Stanford or Juanita Musson?) and loving people.

      Again, community is what you make. So, go out and make community.

  18. David,

    I unlike you, was born and raised in this house and neighborhood. Our family albums are full of family events right here in this neighborhood. In addition, the house has been passed down from one generation to another. It is a special place. I don’t think you get it. This is where we differ. You don’t care about moving. I do.

    For sentimental reasons. Not economic.

  19. Oh yeah-“landed gentry.”

    Creative writing indeed. But why not simply spell it out? Here. I think I can help:

    gentry: privileged classes, elite, high society, smart set (Oooh, my favorite of all), established, aristocracy,

    All who do not fall under the category of “didn’t look right.”

  20. I posted this on Nextdoor many moons ago:

    “I had a weird altercation with a guy this morning on the walk up to the summit. He had tossed a full poop bag on the ground and walked away, so I asked him if he dropped it (like, “Oops, that slipped out of my hand while I was grabbing the leash” kind of thing). He became very defensive and angry and said he’d been walking his dogs here for 20 years, and who was I to tell him to pick up after himself. I said I was someone who picked up after herself and her dog, and didn’t like to see crap on the road in a park we all share.”

    So, I guess this is just one of the many attitudes about it.

    • Wow Veronica. Its me, Richard who posted the photos to Bernalwood. A few commenters have suggested that some people leave the bagged poo to pick up on their way back -which makes no sense since they the trash cans are not far from each other at each end. BUT the greater point you make is nobody should leave their poo bags out for us to see and avoid on our walks regardless. Thank you for engaging this clueless individual who clearly did not intend to pick it up ever. You are great!

      • People certainly do not like to be confronted about it, that’s for sure! Thanks for bringing this up in a creative way, maybe some people who didn’t know how bothersome it is will see this post and understand.

Comments are closed.