Are San Francisco dogs gobbling up the drug-filled poo of meth users and becoming addicted themselves?
It’s a real question running through social media right now, further dividing the city by the bay, where crime, drugs and politicians have all made a mess – but not the hellish landscape some conservatives are salivating for – from the most scenic spot in California.
It was, of course, a Twitter post that made the feces hit the viral fan. I won’t name names because 1) I don’t punch and 2) I don’t promote shit (usually). But the account of a well-known San Francisco basher posted this warning a few days ago:
Do not read this if you are easily put off.
Last night at a party I met a woman who left San Francisco after her dog walker told her that dogs were getting addicted to meth-containing feces.
Apparently they were running around the parks looking for her and then getting high.
Thousands of comments, retweets, and even a Reddit thread followed.
In one camp are the haters of San Francisco, the $1,000 shoe types who just can’t live there anymore because the whole town is a smoking mess. Even Fluffy isn’t safe!
On the other side is the “Calm down, Karen” crowd.
Who’s right and what does it all mean?
I know you’re still reading this largely to find out if dogs really are meth addicts, but you’re not going to get a quick answer. Sit. Lily.
This shit drinking scandal matters because San Francisco has become the right-wing media’s love-hate icon. For years, propaganda purveyors like Tucker Carlson have zoomed in on San Francisco — and poo issues in particular — as proof that Democrats are conspiring to ruin America as we know it.
As early as 2020, Carlson launched a series called “American Dystopia” which detailed this sinister plan by the Democrats that the rest of us had kind of missed. It wasn’t, and isn’t, subtle. But it is effective. Everyone hates public poop.
“Civilization itself is collapsing in San Francisco,” Carlson warned at the time. “Right there, in broad daylight, on the sidewalks of the city, littered with junkies, excrement and dirty needles. … That’s what they would like to do in your neighborhood.
With the election of President Biden and Governor Gavin Newsom edging his way to national attention, the poo stakes have risen. It is no longer enough that we can see it, or even enter it. Now that could kill our furry friends.
OK, there you go: it’s unlikely. Turns out, the fear of drugs and poo is kind of an urban myth, just like the hooked hand killer or the chupacabra. The media chronicled this drug scare from the Humboldt Coast to New York’s Prospect Park, and even in Germany.
But that doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen, does it?
As a journalist, I did this story and asked experts who actually knew about dogs and poop and how much of a threat poop was to drug addicts. UC Davis veterinary toxicologist Robert Poppenga looked sorry for picking up my call, but he answered anyway. Poppenga pointed out that methamphetamine byproducts are primarily excreted through urine. He personally has never seen a case of methamphetamine poisoning and theorized that “a dog would have to eat an awful lot of feces to approach a toxic dose.”
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which operates one of the largest pet poisoning hotlines in the United States, agreed that it is highly unlikely that a dose active methamphetamine can concentrate in feces. But as he noted in a statement, reports of drug-impaired pooches are on the rise, and some drugs are ending up in poop — mostly marijuana. Last year, the hotline received 6,259 calls about potential canine exposures to cannabis.
Turns out a lot of dogs get a weed from eating poop – the stuff is found in an active form in feces – and of course by simply eating marijuana left behind by careless owners who then tell vets the animals ingested it on a walk. Much less embarrassing, much better story.
Rowena Fontanilla works at Park Animal Hospital in San Francisco, just off Golden Gate Park near Haight-Ashbury. She said the hospital often treats impaired dogs who come in “just falling and tripping.”
It even happened recently to Panko, head nurse Tiani Palmer’s Chihuahua mix, who noticed her pet was acting weird after a walk near the California Academy of Sciences.
Panko became wobbly, and Palmer said with her 10 years of experience as a registered animal nurse, she quickly recognized that the dog had probably eaten something impaired. She let her dog sleep, and Panko is fine.
Fontanilla said inducing vomiting and testing for vomit is the only way to know what poison a dog has ingested, a procedure her facility has performed. But even this crime scene investigation doesn’t reveal whether the drugs were packaged in poop, or were actually just meth, heroin, or weed that someone dropped. There’s a lot going on in the park.
Some dogs aren’t as lucky as Panko. Any kind of overdose can be fatal, and as the owner of a chow chow puppy who – I’m sorry to say – likes to eat poop, I take that concern seriously. Like my Winnie, about 16% of dogs are “serious” poop eaters, repulsively caught eating poo more than five times and reputed to have the more fanciful scientific term coprophagia. So the real addiction here might be the poo itself. Bad, bad dog.
But Palmer had this key insight: Drug-eating dogs are a “widespread problem, but no more so than it has been all these years.”
Yes, friends. Drug-eating dogs are nothing new, in San Francisco or anywhere else.
San Francisco dog walker Janet Slissman told me via email that she’s heard of dogs dying from drugs a long time ago, but maintained that “most parks have their own specific poison.”
At Crissy Field, at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge, as pleasant a park as you can find in San Francisco, she warns that sea lions infected with leptospirosis, a bacterial disease, can make dogs sick. ft. Funston, she warns, has horse manure which may contain Giardia. Other parks have coyotes, which can simply kill dogs.
Dog walker Eric Burford, who calls himself “the Fairy Dogfather”, laments the “mind-blowing” number of chicken bones his proteges pick up each week.
So instead of being scared off by meth poo, Burford suggests we focus on the real issues. We have thousands of people who have no other place to defecate than on the streets and in our parks. We know that homelessness, addictions, housing, and poverty are crises that affect us all, whether we are directly affected or avoid pooping.
We don’t need the constant fear of social media influencers of poverty and right-wing media peddling simplistic – and false – narratives about the end of civilization. San Francisco, like any urban center, has always had problems, especially with drugs.
When I reached the original Twitter poster on Friday via direct message, she admitted that “cannabis not meth seems to be the consensus,” not mentioning that marijuana is a legal drug that probably sent dogs from San Francisco on long and strange journeys. since before Jerry Garcia and the Summer of Love.
Reality never stopped the propaganda, but here’s a thought.
Don’t want your dogs to eat drug poop? Then give those with addictions another place to be other than our outdoor spaces. Senate Bill 57, which would allow safe consumption sites to open in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Oakland, is on Newsom’s desk — he has until Monday to sign it or veto it. Safe drinking sites don’t just stop people from overdosing, they also provide bathrooms. So plead for Newsom to sign it.
Or focus on housing and San Francisco’s ever-inflated rents and lack of affordable housing. Hold politicians like Mayor London Breed to account – despite his calls for crackdowns and more policing, little has changed. Ask the police why they don’t arrest felons for minor offences, like the recent story of a thief caught cutting out a catalytic converter, only to be directed to the nearest bus stop. close by agents. It’s a real problem.
Dogs addicted to feces containing methamphetamine?
It’s just bull poo.
Los Angeles Times