What started out as a poster campaign to encourage dog owners in Old City to pick up behind their pets has turned into a growing pilot program that could spread throughout the city.
Janet Kalter and Tony Lucente created the Scoop the Poop campaign last summer after hearing complaints about poop either not being picked up or being picked up but not properly disposed of due to the lack of public trash bins. They came up with a poster, which featured an adorable bulldog wearing a combat helmet and slogans like “Leave No Pile Behind,” and things took off from there.
“We made the posters and started handing them out,” said Kalter, a longtime Old City resident and former business owner. “The people were asking us for these posters, and in the process of taking the posters around, I went to our local vet hospital and they said 'Why don’t you do dog stations?’”
Kalter’s partner, Joe Schiavo, came up with the design for the lightweight 14-inch trash can, and by November they had 10 dog stations complete with a bag dispenser, poster and the can. They have dispensed 2,000 empty bags and collected about 275 waste-filled ones during the past three months, which the Old City District agreed to include in their daily trash pickup.
Not long after they posted the stations, a story on PlanPhilly.com caught the attention of city officials, who had concerns about the cans being attached to city property. The pair met with officials in the Streets Department and the Office of Transportation and Utilities, who signed off last week on a one-year pilot, according to Kalter.
“They want to see what happens in other seasons of the year,” she said. So far the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, Kalter said, and they have received requests for posters from about eight different neighborhoods.
Help taking out garbage
Kalter said one trash can got filled the first day they installed it, so the next question became how they would dispose of the bags, which people were not only using to discard feces, but also trash.
After talking with Old City District, the special services group agreed to pick up the bags at their drop-off stations.
“They’ve been wonderful,” Kalter said of OCD. “They’ve been so cooperative, and I know some of it is because we’re helping them too.”
Lucente and Kalter empty the cans for now, but she said other residents have agreed to help in exchange for additional stations.