To help clean up the neighborhood’s reputation—as well as streets fouled with canine poop—the city placed six dog waste stations along Haight Street in 2014. Within a matter of months, all were destroyed, as was a second batch that was later installed.
What remains of the former stations are mangled and layered with stickers and graffiti, while others are covered in thick, green paint.
In addition to living side by side for decades, the housed and unhoused residents of Haight-Ashbury walk their dogs on the same streets, but until a 2012 city ordinance banned stores from giving them away, nearly everyone used plastic bags to pick up after their pets.
But today, those who can afford them rely on dog-waste bags that are purchased in stores. Poopsies, the top seller at Cole Valley Pets, goes for $8.99 per box.
As vandalism knocked the dispensers out of commission, the Pit Stop program was gearing up. Today, there are 16 Pit Stops around the city where attendants provide clean toilets, sinks, used needle receptacles, and dog waste bags.
In the Haight, there's a Pit Stop at Buena Vista Park and another at Waller and Stanyan Streets.
On Wednesday morning, Goku, a 27-year-old member of workforce readiness program Taking It To The Streets, reached into his pocket to show Hoodline a wad of dog waste bags. He said he stocks up on bags when he passes the Pit Stops.
In 2013, Kent Uyehara was frustrated with all the dog dung in front of FTC, the skateboard shop that reps his apparel brand. Eyeing a street pole outside his shop, he installed an unauthorized dog waste station that he purchased online, the neighborhood's first.
At first, it attracted little attention from vandals. But it did create a minor sensation when the dispenser was praised at the Haight-Ashbury Merchants Association and in the comments section of stories here on Hoodline.
The idea inspired District 5 Supervisor London Breed to find special funding to install similar stations throughout the neighborhood.
The city purchased the same station that was installed in front of FTC, a make and model intended for tranquil locations like suburban office parks and apartment complexes.
Shortly after the boxes were installed In 2014, the city handed over the keys to Christian Calinsky, the tattoo artist at Mom’s Body Shop who also started the Taking It To The Streets program.
His team was charged with keeping the boxes stocked with bags. But Calinsky said that at some point in 2016, all of the stations had disappeared or were no longer functional.
After Hoodline inquired about the boxes, Rachel Gordon, a spokesperson for the Department of Public Works, said they would start looking for dog waste stations that can stand up to the abuse Haight Street doles out.
“If we don’t find new boxes that can withstand vandalism better, we might put the same ones out,” she said.
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