Dog poop and the human response: Town seeks volunteer for unwanted duty

Help wanted: Work in a beautiful outdoor environment. Be responsible for your own hours. Duties are a significant public service. Task involves transport of bagged dog poop. Pay is nothing.
Yes, the town is seeking volunteers to take over the care of Main Street’s four dog-poop receptacles.
“Once per week,” First Selectman Rudy Marconi said.
The task largely involves pulling out a plastic bag filled with other plastic bags that have dog poop, and possibly some other stuff that doesn’t belong there. The volunteer would be responsible for disposal, and putting a new plastic bag in the receptacle to be filled by dog owners as they clean up after their dogs while walking them on Main Street.
There are four dog poop stations on Main Street that are in need of a monitor:

  • One on the corner of Pound Street and Main Street;

  • One on the corner of Gilbert Street and Main Street;

  • One at the corner of Branchville Road and Main Street;

  • One near the intersection of West Lane and Main Street — “directly across the north side of the fountain,” as Marconi put it.

In the center of town — the commercial district — there aren’t specific dog poop stations.
“We attach the baggies and everything on the actual trash bins, so we don’t have to have a separate receptacle for dog poop,” said Town Treasurer Molly McGeehin, who has worked to improve sanitary upkeep in town.
“There are six dispensers on the six existing town trash receptacles on Main Street,” she said. “If there’s a trash receptacle, we don’t need a separate dog receptacle.”

The others
There are eight other dog poop stations in town — or, there were.
Two of three stations along the Rail Trail have been removed, due to them not being changed. The third one — which is farther from the center of town — may also be removed.
“We have a decision to make,” said Parks and Recreation Director Dennis DiPinto.
There are also five stations along the walking path on the Parks and Recreation property. DiPinto said he isn’t looking for a volunteer to monitor those.
And now his watch is ended
The Main Street dog poop stations were put up by a well-meaning public-spirited young man.
He made a commitment to change the stations regularly for two years, and did so.
But the two years is up.
“He volunteered his time,” said McGeehin. “He was generous to donate it as long as he did.”
The most overfilled station is the one at the intersection of Main Street and Branchville Road — a station where a diaper and a few beer cans were found in November.
A problem is that people use the poop stations for regular trash, and they fill up very quickly.
“They’re tricky,” said DiPinto. “There’s not much capacity to them. They’re small. And if people put regular garbage in them, they’re even smaller.”
Town officials know it’s not glamorous volunteer work, but they say it’s an important part of keeping the town nice.
“All the effort that went into implementing this and all the good it’s doing by keeping toxic material off our street,” McGeehin said. “It would just be a shame if somebody didn’t step up.”