The poop on dogs pooping in public

I was driving in Medford recently and saw a guy with a dog on a leash. Both were paused in the median strip in front of a home while the dog did its business. As I drove past, I noticed the dog owner just walked away from the deposit without cleaning it up. I thought it was really rude but also wondered if it's illegal. While I'm on the subject of dogs, what is the rule for dogs in Medford parks? Do they have to be on leashes, and don't owners have to clean up their poop there as well?

— Lewis H., Medford

First, Lewis, we agree with you that it's really rude to let your dog poop on somebody's property without cleaning it up. Sadly, however, it's not illegal for a dog to "do its business" (as you so diplomatically put it) in somebody's yard.

It is, however, illegal to allow a dog to make a deposit on a street, sidewalk or publicly owned property, which would include any park. So the city seems to have taken care of keeping its property poop-free, but maybe isn't so worried about yours and ours.

Medford Municipal Code 5.600 spells out several rules for dogs and their owners. In addition to the no-pooping-on-public-property rule, the code notes that it is illegal to allow a dog to chase vehicles or people, scatter garbage or run at large (off a leash) anywhere within the city limits.

The one exception to the running at large rule is in a specifically designated dog park.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.

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