Skip to content
CityLab
Justice

Cities Have Been Trying to Curb Dog Poop for Centuries

Excrement: messing up city streets since the 1800s.
A collie in Fort Funston Park in San Francisco.
A collie in Fort Funston Park in San Francisco. AP Photo/Paul Sakuma

At the northern end of Manhattan, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine sits wedged within walking distance of three parks: Central Park to the south, Morningside to the east, and Riverside to the west. Needless to say, it draws some foot traffic—and by extension, a lot of dogs.

The latter of which posed a particular problem to the church grounds. Yes, this is a post about dog poop, and its long, storied history of defouling city lands.