By Carla Zanoni
Inwood and Washington Heights residents say their neighborhoods have become a veritable obstacle course of dog feces, with piles of doggie doo dotting sidewalks and streets.
"It's like a war zone out there," Washington Heights resident Gina Vergel said, referring to the minefield of poop on the streets.
Calls requesting "Enforcement of Failure to Pick Up Canine Waste" made to 311 have indeed increased over the past four months, with 169 calls logged in November; 231 in December; 276 in January; and 235 as of Feb. 15, according to the Department of Sanitation (DSNY).
Matthew Lipani, a spokesman for DSNY, said the winter's massive snowfall might be to blame for the poo pile up.
Last year, Washington Heights ranked as having the most pooper-scooper violations in Manhattan, according to the Sanitation department's database, with Riverside Drive, Amsterdam Avenue, 160th and 179th streets in Washington Heights ranking worst in the area.
In August, a Manhattan artist even pasted a poster reminded residents to scoop after their dogs poop in Washington Heights. A new poster appeared on West 181st Street with the same "Clean Up After Your Dog" message.
According to Inwood residents, some of the worst areas this winter were on the north side of 218th Street, between Broadway and Indian Road; on Cooper Street, between Isham and Academy; and on Seaman Avenue near Cumming Street.
In Washington Heights, residents say the dog waste pile-ups are worst along Fort Washington Avenue near 170th Street, Pinehurst Avenue and Bennett Avenue.
Dog owners who don't pick up after their pets can face a fine of $250, according to the Sanitation department, but collaring culprits can be tough.
"This is actually one of our hardest violations to write, as dog owners must be seen in action not picking up after their dog," Lipani wrote in an email.
For many in Upper Manhattan, frustration over the littered poo has meant irritation at dog owners as well.
"They walk their four-legged companions in the stealth of late night or early morning," wrote xtian2008, a registered user of Washington Heights and Inwood Online website. "Although their dogs have brains the size of peaches, it is actually they who operate out of complete disregard & laziness."