"Today I saw a plastic bag with a colored streamer tied to it at the edge of a District trail. What's that all about?"
Before you came by, a park visitor with a dog picked up the dog's waste with the plastic bag, then left the bag containing the waste along the side of the trail. Later, a member of the Volunteer Trail Safety Patrol (VTSP) saw the bag (but not the person who left it there) and attached colored flagging tape to the bag. He or she wrote the current date and time on the tape:
District Ordinance 38, enacted by our citizen-elected representatives, provides as follows in section 801.10: "Any person bringing a dog onto park property shall immediately remove the excrement deposited by such animal on any trail, developed area, or any area so posted. Animal wastes may be placed in garbage cans or removed from the park."
Though the District ordinance doesn't allow it, leaving bagged dog waste at the edge of a trail for a short time ... while the handler and dog travel out along the trail, then return and retrieve the bag for later disposal ... isn't too bad, though it does do harm:
Some of our trails are sometimes lined with many bags of dog waste. Some dog handlers may be assuming that it is someone else's job to pick up and dispose of the dog waste, or they may simply wish not to be burdened with the task.
Dog waste, bagged or not, is a health issue for humans and for the wild animals that live in our parklands. Wild prey animals recognize that the waste was left by a carnivore (a meat-eater) that may be a threat to them.
Some members of the Volunteer Trail Safety Patrol, on a trial basis, are using flagging tape to "tag" trailside dog waste bags. With these dated and timed tags, they and all trail users can see whether dog handlers are being responsible about bagged dog waste. Tags marked with times more than one or two hours earlier suggest that some dog handlers are not being responsible.
Thank you! from the Volunteer Trail Safety Patrol.