Stretches of Rancho Vistoso Boulevard in Rancho Vistoso could more appropriately be named Dog Doo Drive or Puppy Poop Place, based on the amount of dog waste that's been piling up over the past few months.
And no one seems to be able to do anything about it.
To Penny Parac the poop is particularly perturbing. She's contacted the Pima County Health Department, Pima County Animal Control, the Oro Valley Police Department and Lewis Management Resources, a management company that serves the Vistoso Community Association in Rancho Vistoso. And still pooches pretty much poop as they will.
"This has been going on ever since I came here and I've been here two years," she said. "It's been collecting for months and now there are more than 50 piles " in the Bentwater Drive area and beyond as far as Honey Bee Canyon Park, she said.
Animal Control representatives visited the area recently and agreed the preponderance of poop warranted issuing a citation to someone. Later Oro Valley police took a look and came to the same conclusion.
But to whom should the citation be issued was the question. To the long gone dog owner? Impossible. And what jurisdiction would issue the citation? Some areas of Rancho Vistoso are in the town, others in the county and still others under federal control. Other parcels come under the jurisdiction of the homeowner association or are private property.
So unless someone strolling by volunteers to pick up the poop or the weather takes care of the problem, no one picks it up. It's left to the next guy to dispose of.
Oro Valley officials are still trying to figure out what to do about Parac's complaint.
The dog waste problem "is occurring everywhere," said Mark Lewis, owner of Lewis Management Resources. "It's no joke. If a company existed that could offer such a service and was licensed and insured to do so, they'd clean up," Lewis said, no pun intended.
"You could build an industry over this," he said.
Lewis said the issue of getting dog poop cleaned up is neither one of time nor of money.
The answer to the problem from his viewpoint is one of educating people as to their responsibilities and the health hazards that may result from letting the dog poop lie and consistent enforcement of laws by the responsible government agencies.
Homeowner associations would be more willing to help clean up waste beyond their boundaries if legislation were passed to indemnify the associations against any liabilities they're likely to be absorbing because of the added responsibilities and if they could be insured, he said.
If that were the case, homeowner associations might even be willing to help the towns do it because it's become such a nuisance problem, he said.
About three years ago, insurance companies began notifying homeowner associations across the country to be very careful about what they allowed their vendors, such as the landscapers they contract with, to do because homeowner associations were increasingly becoming the targets of big pockets lawsuits, Lewis said. Hence their reluctance to allow the landscapers to pick up beyond what's within the association's purview, he said.
"It's a volume issue," Lewis said. More people with dogs are moving in and so while a few years ago there might have been three or four people a day walking their dogs along Rancho Vistoso Boulevard, now there are 30, he said.
"I like the idea we're all beginning to talk more about the problem," Lewis said. "What we've got is a system that is set up not to work properly. The solution is a better system."
Lewis said the homeowner association has put up at least 40 signs reminding residents they're violating the law when they fail to pick up after their dogs, but still there's no abating of doo.
And while there's nothing particularly onerous about dog doo in small amounts, he said, it does pose health hazards when you're processing volumes.
None of the parks in the area currently allow dogs but Vistoso Partners is planning to have a park in Neighborhood 10 with a special area for dogs within the next 90 to 120 days and that should help a bit, Lewis said.
Oro Valley Police Department spokesperson Becky Mendez said it would be a big help if people would simply assume responsibility for their pets. Lacking that, Mendez suggested residents approach the problem in the same way they participate in Neighborhood Watch, that is when they see someone who isn't picking up after their dog, to call and remind that neighbor to do so because it is the law.
"Unless residents in a neighborhood decide to take notice of the problem, little is going to change," Mendez said.
"We want to do right by the people who own the property, the homeowner associations and the people who manage those groups," Mendez said. "If we could get more help from the neighbors we could do a lot more about it."