Straight Talk: Spring cleaning

  • Published
  • By Col. Stacy L. Yike
  • 66th Air Base Group commander
Last week's pleasant weather gave me hope that spring may return after all. Of course, it promptly snowed again, reminding me that my first winter at Hanscom is sure to be in the record books for at least a few years.

Lots of events are cropping up for your entertainment, so be sure to check out the latest information on the 66th Force Support Squadron's website at The First Friday event at the Minuteman Club on March 4 will feature a Mardi Gras theme, so grab your beads and come join us.

Spring has uncovered some other issues, as well. Read on to see a frustrated resident's plea for your help.

Question: I just returned from the daily walk with my two dogs and was truly disgusted by what I encountered. The amount of dog feces that is littering the sidewalks is a disgrace, and the members living in housing should be ashamed of themselves that they lack the decency to pick up after their dogs. Not only is it horrible to look at, but it is a health concern, as well.

People are walking around the neighborhood and inadvertently stepping into the feces and returning to their homes, work places and school. We all know dog waste looks and smells unpleasant. However, many do not know all the facts about canine waste.

· Dog waste can transmit bacteria and viruses including tapeworm, roundworm, e.coli, parvo and more.
· Canine fecal matter is a top contributor to storm water pollution.
· Waste matter accumulation can negatively affect appearance and health of lawns.
· A pile can take a year or more to fully breakdown.
· Dog waste accumulation can attract mice and parasites.

I would appreciate a response to this e-mail regarding Hanscom's plan of action for dealing with this hazardous situation.

Response: I regret that you have had to deal with this unpleasantness. Unfortunately, there are some dog owners shirk their responsibilities, but Hanscom is a place where neighbors look out for one another and residents treat each other with the respect representative of a military community. I am confident that your constructively worded letter will be a gentle reminder to residents that their actions impact others.

During the winter months the howling winds, blizzard conditions, frozen fingers and 72-inch snow drifts probably created dilemmas for more than one dog owner, but now is the time for spring cleaning. I would encourage all dog owners to pick up an extra pile or two on your walks now that the weather is clearing. Consider it good karma for that pile you may have missed in January. Just a reminder, the dog park is also a "clean as you go" location.

As the writer stated, leaving dog waste on the ground is not only inconsiderate, but also a health concern and environmental hazard. That is one reason that the resident guidelines and the pet addendum require prompt removal of pet feces in your yard as well as on walks. The Landings property management staff inspects yards and common areas regularly from spring to fall and issues tickets to individual residents to remind them that dog feces need to be policed immediately. A reminder e-mail was sent to all residents last week.