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Do fences make for better neighbors?

Original post made by Disgusted on May 11, 2012

About a month ago, I was pulling up to our house after a long day of work when I saw a couple standing in front of our house, allowing their dog to pee on our lawn. Seeing my car, they hastily pulled the dog away, and started to walk on. I got out, and quite politely tried to get their attention by calling out "Excuse me? May I speak to you for a moment?" Nothing. No response, they didn't even turn around. I called out again, a bit louder this time, in case they were a hearing impaired couple, same lack of response. As they continued to ignore me, I finally shouted at them, "What the h** is your problem? Are you REALLY this rude?" This time, they turned around hastily, he, somewhat threateningly. I was not near them, but he was so scary that I still backed up a step. The man started yelling at me, and I again asked him what his problem was. How do two people simply ignore someone trying to speak nicely to them? No answer to that question.

I then indicated a sign we had on the lawn, about not allowing dogs to eliminate there, and told them that pee can damage a lawn. He snottily responded to me I should put signs all over the yard, or put up a fence, and that he couldn't see this particular one because it was on the other side of a car parked in the driveway. This, I know to be a lie, because I had seen him at my property before, but never got out of the house fast enough to catch his dog in the act. My elderly mom just put out a lot of money to finally have a new lawn put in after 38 years, and within TWO WEEKS there were THREE dog pee burn marks by the driveway. THOSE DON'T GO AWAY. WHEN YOU ALLOW YOUR DOG TO PEE ON SOMEONE ELSE'S LAWN, YOU ARE QUITE POSSIBLY CAUSING DAMAGE TO THAT PERSON'S PROPERTY!

I have two dogs, but I never allow them on our lawn, to do ANYTHING, much less pee, and I don't allow them on anyone else's. If they have to pee, we use the strip by the curb, and even then, when they begin to pee, I pull them away toward the street to finish. The confrontation ended with hurled insults on both sides, he and his wife because they were arrogant and rude and caught in the act, and me, because more than the dog peeing on the lawn, I was still shocked that people would be so blatantly rude as to ignore someone trying to simply TALK to them.

About two weeks ago I went next door to give something to my neighbor, and noticed a burn mark on the lawn on the exact spot where that dog peed. This, in spite of the fact that after the miserably rude couple had moved on, I immediately poured water on the spot, hoping to dilute the pee.

This morning I saw that woman walking her dog, again, the dog was on someone's lawn, just not ours. I stopped my car and again, attempted to talk to her, nicely at first. After she yet once again, ignored me, I continued to speak, and told her that her dog had damaged our lawn, and that we have changed our security camera's to focus on the lawn, and that if I saw her dog peeing on our lawn again, I would call the police and show them the picture. Again, no response.

It may seem like a small thing, but really, it isn't. The bigger picture is indicative of where Palo Alto is heading, a place of hostility and entitlement. Ironically, for one of the most educated cities in the state, it's sad that so many of the people in Palo Alto seem to not have been educated in manners or respect for others.
Just when I think I've reached an age where I've seen and experienced the best and worst of what people do, I am again surprised by the sheer self centered narcissistic arrogance of the people we used to call, 'neighbors.'

Comments (88)

Posted by anonymous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 11, 2012 at 11:55 am

This is hardly news, sad to say. It is standard behavior of dog owners and dog walkers in our neighborhood, too. Our lawn has suffered a lot. But that's why they walk the dog - they don't want it to go on THEIR yard/lawn but in yours. Yeah, I get that it's for exercise. Why not set aside a portion of your yard for your dog (rather than crating all day - yuck). Or - why not go over to one of those city dog parks.
I really dislike that some people here don't respect others' property - for example, I work very hard on my garden and people just let their pets go (both ways, sometimes) on it. It is personally insulting to me since I try to take pride in my garden and having to pick up after others or try to repair the grass is extra work and looks bad. I don't have a dog but I would never dream of letting my pet wreck someone else's yard/garden.


Posted by Disgusted, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 11, 2012 at 12:01 pm

Yep. Both ways is right. Sunday morning I was awakened at 7am by the sound of a dog collar right under my bedroom window. I jumped out of bed to see a dog taking a dump in the landscaping that's right up against the house. I said to the woman walking the dog, "Don't let your dog crap on our lawn" and she quickly cleaned it up then said "Sorry, jeez!" At least she cleaned it up I suppose. I asked my mom if she wants a small fence along the sidewalk, she said no. I guess she has more faith in people than I do. We made a small part of our property into a dog run, and usually, before walking our dogs, we put them out there first. I'm sorry about your garden :( I'm a gardener too, and this is very discouraging.


Posted by Joe, a resident of Barron Park
on May 11, 2012 at 12:08 pm

Dear Disgusted,

You just started a new topic and posted a 700 word missive about dog pee. Not on your lawn, but somebody you love. In the interest of helping both you and the economy of Palo Alto, I'd suggest that you make your way downtown and purchase this item: Web Link

Now, can we please get back to reading more terrific posts by Atherton resident Peter Carpenter?


Posted by Disgusted, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 11, 2012 at 12:14 pm

Disgusted made the case that: The bigger picture is indicative of where Palo Alto is heading, a place of hostility and entitlement. Ironically, for one of the most educated cities in the state, it's sad that so many of the people in Palo Alto seem to not have been educated in manners or respect for others.

A response to that post was made by 'Joe':

Posted by Joe, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, 0 minutes ago

Dear Disgusted,

You just started a new topic and posted a 700 word missive about dog pee. Not on your lawn, but somebody you love. In the interest of helping both you and the economy of Palo Alto, I'd suggest that you make your way downtown and purchase this item: Web Link

Let us just call Joe, EXHIBIT "A".

Meanwhile, if we can safely assume that "Joe" can do more than look at pictures, here's a link for YOU Joe:

Web Link


Posted by Agree, a resident of Community Center
on May 11, 2012 at 12:24 pm

Dog fanciers are so numerous, it's like a plague.They expect you to love their animal even though you just want to be left alone.
I find little bags of dog-do in my compost bin.
Please stop it! Slobs, inconsiderate louts.


Posted by Disgusted, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 11, 2012 at 12:26 pm

Oh and "Joe"? Sylvan Learning Center would help you with your reading comprehension so you could begin to understand that I did not write a 700 word missive about just dog pee. You also wrongly assumed that the house belongs only to my mother. Apparently your lack of reading comprehension skills did not enable you to understand that the larger part of what I wrote about was more of a social issue, that of rudeness to others, which you promptly displayed as an accurate assessment by sending me a link to look at a bag of marbles, implying that I had lost mine. Perhaps, you should pick up your own marbles before castigating another.


Posted by Palo Parent, a resident of Greenmeadow
on May 11, 2012 at 1:36 pm

We're wound pretty tight aren't we?


Posted by Mom, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 11, 2012 at 1:49 pm

We have had the same issue with dog owners allowing their animals to defecate in our front yard. Most will scurry off when confronted, but there are a few owners that I have had to speak to multiple times.
I truly do not understand why the owners think it is acceptable to use MY yard instead of their own as a dumping ground.


Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 11, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Disgusted - While I agree that dogs should go in their own yard, sometimes they don't. Sometimes they are on a walk and half to pee - just like little kids. I have 2 dogs, they seldom "go" on a walk, but once in a while they do. We clean it up and throw it away (at home, throwing it in someone else's trash is gross. It's just grass, buy a piece of sod for $1.99 and replace the burn spots.

The fact that you chased these people down the street and with your car says to me that you have some anger issues you should work on.

Its just grass. Lighten up. Life is short.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Jordan Middle School
on May 11, 2012 at 2:09 pm

The only way to stop these selfish dog owners is to plant hedges or install a fence to physically block them because their owners will allow them to go anywhere. But prior to the hedges growing in (it'll take 2 years), a wire fence is needed: Web Link When our hedges were just planted, a dog owner with those extendable leashes allowed his dog to walk between the hedges, and up our lawn to defecate. Immediately, with rage in my eyes, I went out and bought wire fences, no longer assuming dog owners would get the hint that I didn't want them on my lawn. Yes, WE have to pay money to keep people from trespassing and using our lawns.

I have children and we all spend time on our front lawn. I don't care if the dog owners pick up the doo, there is still residue (why don't they pick it up with their bare hands if they think it's okay?).

I witnessed a dog owner mailing letter and using the dog scoop to open the mailbox. The ones who have lost their marbles are the selfish dog owners.

My children have stepped in dog doo at Jordan Middle school many times. It's an off-leash dog party there every evening.




Posted by Disgusted, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 11, 2012 at 2:25 pm

No Palo parent, just tired of the snotty Palo Alto attitude. Otherwise known as tPA'rs. @palo alto mom, I did NOT chase anyone down any street. In fact, I stated I pulled up at the curb and got out of my car. I believe that is part of what one does when they are exiting their vehicle to go into their own home. I stayed standing in front of my own car in front of my OWN house while talking to these people. As to the second encounter, I saw the woman today when I was DRIVING down my own block to go to work. I stopped my car to tell her she damaged my lawn. I don't have anger issues. YOU have reading comprehension issues. Hope you aren't helping your children with their English homework.

Let's just label your attacking me instead of addressing the larger issue at hand of insolent people who feel they can do what they please (no matter who it hurts) Exhibit "B". That's now three of you who have clearly illustrated the veracity my point about the general attitude of Palo Altans. Thank you for living down to my expectations.


Posted by Jamie, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on May 11, 2012 at 2:39 pm

Do you have the same hostility for the owners of outdoor cats?


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 11, 2012 at 2:50 pm

I think I get the point. I once disturbed a family with a ladder helping themselves to fruit from our tree. They totally ignored my polite excuse me, picked up their ladder and my fruit and hurriedly left.

We also had people using our portapotty when we were doing construction and I have also seen people letting their children run all over our front lawn.

There are many who see front lawns, trashcans and portapotties communal space and communal facilities and do not respond to polite "excuse me".


Posted by Disgusted, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 11, 2012 at 3:31 pm

Jaime, I have dogs myself. And I have no hostility toward the dogs, just to their handlers. I know the damage that can happen to a lawn, and that it's not easily repaired unless someone tears out that chunk of lawn and replaces it with sod. Regardless, it's expensive, and not everyone in Palo Alto is rolling in money. I have yet to see a cat (and I have cats too) destroy anyone's lawn. Just a few potted plants. Again, this contrarian position some are taking is a fascinating first hand insight into the true mentality of this City. No wonder nothing positive gets accomplished here.

Resident, I experienced the same thing with the fruit. We had a persimmon tree in our backyard, and often we would come home and find people with ladders and once, at eleven at night, even on the roof of our garage, stealing the fruit. When confronted, they just fled, sometimes leaving the ladder behind. Again, not even a tossed over shoulder "Sorry" which would have amused us and lessened the sting. To avoid a potential lawsuit if someone fell, the next owner of the house removed the tree.


Posted by Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on May 11, 2012 at 3:39 pm


@Posted by Disgusted, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood

If you dislike Palo Altans so much why dont you just move out and stay away from Palo Alto?

You are clearly not a good fit

We have much more serious problems than worrying about domestic cats killing many birds and much small wildlife or dogs urinating.


Posted by Disgusted, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 11, 2012 at 3:45 pm

Dear Sharon: I have been in Palo Alto for 38 years. I have noticed the change in the character of the City, and am saddened by it. I have read your postings for years. And, the various responses to them. I have refrained from jumping in an attacking you, I see you exercise no such restraint. So, let's just say I will leave the 'more serious' postings to you. Personally, I find habitual incivility and damaging the property of others to be somewhat serious. And, who said anything about 'domestic cats killing many birds?' This is getting too funny, like an online comment blog game of 'Telephone'. Again, this isn't about DOG PEE. It's about willfully DAMAGING ANOTHER PERSON'S PROPERTY.


Posted by Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on May 11, 2012 at 4:07 pm



The proposal that all dogs be fitted with diapers in Palo Alto is bizarre.

In fact-cats kill millions of young birds and small animals every year in the US, they also spread diseases that kill otters and cause human miscarriages.

Bird droppings cause major damage to car paint and deer cause significant loss of life on the road.

Meanwhile Palo Alto will be bankrupted by our City workers pensions


Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 11, 2012 at 4:10 pm

Disgusted -

If someone I didn't know stopped their car while I was walking my dog, accused me of damaging property, told me they would videotape me and "call the police and show them the picture" of my dog peeing, I wouldn't respond either, I would be afraid of you. The fact that you have a need to have a security camera to catch people's dogs peeing is a little scary in and of itself.

BTW - I doubt the police take a dog peeing very seriously.


Posted by Miller, a resident of Midtown
on May 11, 2012 at 5:12 pm

I feel your pain, disgusted. I planted some hedges around my lawn - both for looks and as "dog defense," but it did take a few years before it was actually an impediment to larger dogs.
There is a great sign up on the Mitchell Park construction site on Middlefield from "Project Cornerstone." I can't remember the exact quote, but it something like, "our children are watching our actions."
I just can't help but think of that anytime I see someone behaving rudely or openly flaunting rules. Its so true! How can we expect THEM to be respectful of property if adults walk around like they don't care where their animals do their business.

Try "Critter Ridder." It is supposed to have a nasty smell that might keep the dogs off your lawn. I'm not sure if it works or not. You can get it at Osh.

Also, as tough as it is to see people disrespect your Mom's lawn, try to keep it in perspective. It isn't worth raising your blood pressure or ruining your day over - that's another thing. They might burn the lawn, but they shouldn't ruin your day too. Time is precious!


Posted by Outside Observer, a resident of another community
on May 11, 2012 at 5:36 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on May 11, 2012 at 5:54 pm


@Outside Observer

Advising people to poison pets is a very, very serious matter.

Such poisoning is a felony in California as is your encouraging such felonies-

-watch out-
-knock knock-

-your ISP has identified your computer as advocating a felony-

-you have the right to an attorney---

-etc -good luck

the penalty can be up to 8 years in State Prison-

- very hard time


Posted by Disgusted, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 11, 2012 at 6:34 pm

Palo Alto mom, again, let me attempt to enlighten you. We have a security system because there are many residential burglaries. You again made an assumption. This is my neighborhood. This woman knows who I am, and I know who she is. As to the cops, that's for them to decide. Certainly a police report and a picture for proof would go far in supporting a civil suit. My mom spent a fortune on that lawn, this was a much saved for and anticipated event. To have someone come along and damage it is unconscionable. It's not a $1.99 piece of sod. If these are the values you are teaching your children, you are part of the problem, not the solution. Every person in this city should enjoy the reasonable expectation of respect for property while exercising respect for the property of others.


Posted by Disgusted, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 11, 2012 at 6:49 pm

Outside, that's awful! It's not the dogs, it's the people walking them. And, advocating harm would make me part of the problem, not the solution. @Miller, thank you. It isn't so much of ruining my day, though it did upset my 80year old mother a lot, it was more a matter of hoping some people would read this and take to heart that thoughtless actions can hurt and maybe they'll remember to be a bit more thoughtful of others.


Posted by Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on May 11, 2012 at 7:21 pm



All 80 yr olds have much more important issues than cats killing small animals or dogs in diapers

Poisoning pets is a felony in California--the PAPD can get the ISP to trace anyone promoting such felonies -

-and they will


Posted by Outside Observer, a resident of another community
on May 11, 2012 at 7:22 pm

Over the years I've found that in order to deal with rude, arrogant, self-absorbed people, you need to be able to think like them.

Thus my advise.

The dogs are innocent, acting on instinct. The owners are not, yet the only way to influence the owners is through the dogs.




Posted by European transplant, a resident of College Terrace
on May 11, 2012 at 8:32 pm

The pervasive sense of entitlement in Palo Alto is unbelievable and it reminds me of parts of Europe at its worst. I thought I'd left that behind when I left Europe for California a long time ago. For many years, it was true... but no longer in Palo Alto.


Posted by I don't know..., a resident of Fairmeadow
on May 11, 2012 at 8:49 pm

maybe you were in the right.

But, if you looked half as angry as your post sounds, I would probably have tried to get away from you, too.


Posted by C, a resident of Barron Park
on May 11, 2012 at 9:41 pm

Dear Disgrusted, The solution is quite simple! Just go to your lovely neighbor's driveway and leave them whatever they deserve! You can see the result within DAYs


Posted by Anon., a resident of Crescent Park
on May 11, 2012 at 9:58 pm

People controlling their dogs is a problem.

If I leave my garbage cans out on garbage day a little too long, or ever just a few minutes sometimes people walk by with their dogs and toss their plastic bags full of dog poop in my trash container.

By the end of a week dog poop in a hot trash container really stinks, so putting your dog's poop in someone else's container to me is an offense. The problem is since there is no law about being civil people just do whatever they can get away with, and most of the time people push the envelope and do things they are not even sure they can get away with just to see if they can - because our culture does not do anything to people who are offensive but reward them.

30 years now of this type of culture in strong postive feedback and we can see where we are heading on most levels - and it seems to be it ends up pretty much close to barbarism.

That said, having signs all over your house and your yard about not letting your dog poop on the yard just entices people. One of the major strategies of the offensive people is to find out what bugs someone and then poke at it over and over. This is nothing less than bullying, and by posting signs to tell people not to do what they know they should not do anyway is silly. You should count yourself lucky that they did not have a pit bull and he did not attack you.

I don't know what the answer is. There are just some things that people in general do not get. Like how to merge onto a freeway, or how to wait in line politely. I have been going to supermarkets for the better part of 4 decades now and it is only in the last few years that I have people banging me from behind with their carts they are not paying attention to.

Another theory is that we human only have so much bandwidth, so much attention and energy to devote to things, so we have so much to do and so much complexity in our life things have to lapse somewhere, and so it is with each other than we slack off and study how to get away with it and be entertained by someone else's misery and misfortune.

By the way, I did not see anything about fences in the article, what about fences?


Posted by Helpless, a resident of Barron Park
on May 11, 2012 at 10:06 pm

Twice in one week I found fresh dog-dos on our driveway, next to our papers. Fortunately, the papers were in plastic bags. It's quite obvious that those fresh dog-dos were on our path -- for our cars and kids' bikes. I don't understand why the dog owners think it's ok to leave them there. We have to make sure there is no dark colored object before heading out. It's awful!


Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 11, 2012 at 10:23 pm

Irresponsible dog owners are some of the most "entitled" people in Palo Alto. Dog owners should be required to purchase a permit and attend mandatory training on dog owner responsibilities.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 11, 2012 at 10:58 pm

Disgusted, I totally feel for you. This is why:

-You're responding not just to what happened, but to your concerns over how your town has changes

-You wanted to stop people from letting their dogs do this in the future on your property, but they wouldn't listen, so it just pissed you off further, resulting in your getting really wound up & needing to vent

-You care for your yard, you respect your yard & the property of others & want them to do the same for you, but they don't. That's also a total pisser.

As one who has dogs AND has had people let their dogs do their business in our yard AND all over the sidewalk unnecessarily, below is some unsolicited advice:

-Do whatever your budget & pride allow you to prevent it in the future

-Realize that your peace of mind, your serenity, are more important than your lawn

-Remember that a lot of people act like jerks when we don't want them to

-Realize that your peace of mind, your serenity, are more important than your lawn (yes, I'm writing this again, because it's important)

-Don't let your upset escalate w/continual confrontations because no one will hear your message - they only pay attention to how it's delivered

-Dogs used to pee on peoples' lawns all over Palo Alto when I was a kid. It's more recently that people have such concerns over lawn burn - & that people are getting more rude w/their own sense of entitlement. This is not an accident - people are more protective of their stuff & others are more entitled re not caring about your stuff.

-The cops do NOT care about dogs peeing on your lawn. You will be a laughingstock if you go to them w/pics. Trust me - I've seen the pics from folks like you & we laughed ourselves silly.

-Realize that your peace of mind, your serenity, are more important than your lawn (yes, I'm writing this again, because it's important)

-Final note - Sharon's observations & advice here are actually relevant & cogent. I'm glad that OO's post was deleted & that she nailed OO for that. Oh - take some deep breaths when you see the lawn disrespect happen again, because it will!


Posted by Outside Observer, a resident of another community
on May 11, 2012 at 11:00 pm

>>"I have been going to supermarkets for the better part of 4 decades now and it is only in the last few years that I have people banging me from behind with their carts they are not paying attention to."

There is an easy fix to that one. Go to an Asian market. Lion's or Ranch 99.

Customers there haven't been polluted by American garbage culture. They are respectful, don't block aisles, don't have herds of screaming children, won't bump your cart or waste your time in checkout.

Try it once, and you will never go back to Hole Foods again. (incorrect spelling on purpose ;)


Posted by Emily, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 11, 2012 at 11:39 pm

@Outside Observer: That's not true at all. I am a Chinese-American and one of my peeves is that sometimes (but not often) Asian immigrants may bump me and not even apologize because they are so used to bumping into people in Asia, which is so crowded. Whereas, here, people apologize if they bump into someone. But this is way off topic.

I looked into ways to keep dogs off our lawn and ended up paying thousands to have hedges installed. To try to use scents to deter them, one has to apply it every week. I am not going to let the dog owners force me to waste my time as such.


Posted by Disgusted, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 12, 2012 at 12:47 am

Thank you for some of the well intentioned advice. I am appreciative of it. I will say for the last time, I did not get angrily out of my car, I BECAME angry as I experienced the phenomenal rudeness of those two awful people. I have worked in the service industry, then the courts, for years, and this was the most blatant in your face cold shoulder response to a polite request I've ever experienced. When I spoke to that woman today, I again was not rude or angry, just factual. Told her what her dog did to my lawn, and what steps I was going to take to ensure she didn't do this again unless she wished to pay for the damages. Unlike her, I used my words to make myself clear. I've seen a lot of police laugh about a lot of stuff, until it happens to their own things. Not so funny then. I'm sure on some level, they can relate. I would be more likely to take the case to a civil court for remedy. And then, only when it was someone who had already been asked to cease and desist, as was this woman and their husband, because then it becomes deliberate intent. People get distracted, spaced out, and sometimes don't pay attention. I do that too, I understand that. People who are intentionally rude are something different altogether, no matter how small an issue you think this is, it's an issue that relates to having to spend money to fix that which we did not ruin. I know what @Helpless is talking about too, because we too have had our Sunday paper either stolen or dumped out of the green plastic bag, and found dog crap lying in it on our driveway. Unbelievable! My mother didn't raise us to do things like that, and I suppose I am naive to expect others to share the same mores and values that I hold dear. It's all in the attitude, and the attitude I've seen around this city of late, is pretty bad.


Posted by Disgusted, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 12, 2012 at 1:00 am

Anon, the angry jerk who allowed his dog to urinate on our lawn imperiously told me I should put up a fence if I did not want dogs peeing on my lawn. Funny how people are translating total frustration into anger management issues. I didn't get angry until I realized these awful people were ignoring my quite pleasant repeated attempts to get their attention, and the dialogue only turned rude when they initiated the hostility. All I wanted to do was politely ask them not to allow their dog to pee on our lawn when walking by our house.

Tell me, why is it that the dreck that did this to our home is just about untouchable, while I, who chose to vent because I'm tired of the entitlement issues in this city, and the financial damage this caused, am personally attacked and have had things attributed to me that I never even said! This has been a strange experience, but it's given me invaluable empirical data backing up my initial assessment of the situation. Thanks to those who get it, and let's hope someday things will change for the better.


Posted by simple..., a resident of Midtown
on May 12, 2012 at 1:16 am

Put up a short fence and electrify it on the inside. Problem solved, after the first time the dog pees on it...


Posted by Its Happening Now, a resident of Barron Park
on May 12, 2012 at 5:57 am

Here's the unofficial motto of PA: "Welcome to Palo Alto...Me first!"
The sense of selfish entitlement and "Me above everyone else" attitude is seen EVERYWHERE in this town. If you want community and friendlier people, Mtn View has far more to offer, and when you're downtown you won't think you're on Mid Market St in SF, weaving through suspect and aggressive transients as they angrily "ask" for your money.
Its simply a much more "Livable" area.

You can all see what's happening to PA. People may try to deny it, but after living hear for 45 years its quite easy to see the cultural shift away from community. The disdain people show each other on the roads has now seeped into everyday encounters in stores and on sidewalks.

"Palo Alto...ME FIRST!"


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on May 12, 2012 at 6:05 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

In some cities, all licensed dogs are required to submit a DNA sample to the police. An unidentified dump on one's lawn is picked up by the police, DNA analyzed and the owner identified and fined. The fines are heavy enough to support the program.


Posted by Unprovable Statement, a resident of Barron Park
on May 12, 2012 at 6:06 am

"There is an easy fix to that one. Go to an Asian market. Lion's or Ranch 99.
Customers there haven't been polluted by American garbage culture."

BWAHAHAHAHA!!! OK.


Posted by Dogs-Belong-In-The-Country, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 12, 2012 at 7:01 am

Dogs do what dogs do .. and people really don't have a lot of control over them. Given their own choice, dogs will go find a place that's "private" and do their business. The dog will then try to cover up his "deposit" by scratching the soil, or loose leaves that might be on the ground, over the droppings. Dogs that are kept in houses, don't get a chance to act very naturally .. and find themselves sort of "performing" for their owners.

It's the dog owners that are the problem, not so much the dogs.

Given how inconsiderate most dog owners are in Palo Alto, it's a lot easier to just clean up the droppings, when they occur, and not expend a lot of emotional energy over the matter.


Posted by common sense, a resident of Midtown
on May 12, 2012 at 8:06 am

I put up boxwood bushes to hedge my front yard. It took 2 years for them to grow into a hedge, but once they've formed a hedge I rarely get any dogs using my front yard.

Unfortunately, the only answer to those rude dog walkers are:

1) get evidence using pictures, and go to small claims court; the judgements that can awarded are high enough that it should cover the cost of the lawn, as well as any hazardous waste remedial work. Unfortunately it does take your time, but after a few lawsuits, I'm sure the rude dog walkers would get the message.

2) go public with the rude dog walkers name, photos, etc. But these rude dogwalkers probably have no shame


Posted by laura, a resident of Midtown
on May 12, 2012 at 8:33 am

I have noticed a new trend. People use newspaper bags to leave dog poop on our sidewalk - already packaged but left there for us to dispose of!!


Posted by NaughtyDoggy, a resident of South of Midtown
on May 12, 2012 at 8:53 am

We have neighbors that allow their dogs to pee on our lawn in front of us and not excuse themelves or the dog. They just smile at us and move on down the street to another house. Post a sign on the lawn or turn the automatic sprinkers on at various times of the day!


Posted by New in town, a resident of Palo Verde
on May 12, 2012 at 9:57 am

Agree w/everyone who supports dogs going in the OWN yard. Not in my yard, not in my drive, NOT on the school field, do it at home. Dogs are trainable, so train or re-train them!

To the person who suggested dogs just need to go, much like children. What if parents started having their toilet training toddlers go in your yard or wherever they happened to be? Kids are trainable and so are dogs. Owners just don't care and don't think about all the kids who step in or cartwheel through dog pee and poo at school or in their own yard.

My kids and their school mates regularly experience this. When dodging turds on the sidewalk as we approach Palo Verde they ask why people don't clean up. The next generation is watching how adults treat each other.

To the OP. it is not just PA, unfortunately poop happens these days in yards everywhere. Doesn't excuse it.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton
on May 12, 2012 at 11:02 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I believe that people allow their dogs to poop on other people's and the public's property because they simply feel that their are no consequences for their actions.

The people involved might well ignore complaints of strangers but will certainly be more responsive to exposure of their behavior to the friends and work colleagues. Why not start a web site Hall of Shame and post photographs and videos of this behavior?


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 12, 2012 at 11:16 am

I will admit that when I've not had a bag handy & the dog goes in public, once back home I grab a bag, drive back or walk another dog to the place of sin & clean it up. But we consciously don't let them go in a person's yard. It's confusing for the dogs - rescued dogs have their own habits that can be time-consuming to correct. But if I can prevent a 120 lb dog from peeing on a lawn, others can, too - their dogs are likely smaller.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 12, 2012 at 11:46 am

The thing to remember about dogs peeing like this is that they are not urinating because they need to, but they are marking a territory or sending messages to other animals. A dog who is leashed and out of its own territory if being walked properly should be easy to prevent. But, if the dogwalker stops or allows the dog to walk on a leash too long, it will revert to its animal behavior and start sniffing to find out what other animals belong in this territory and then leave its message to those other animals.

I believe that the scent and the chemical balance between dogs and bitches and those that are neutered are all different and cause a different effect to the ground on which the pee has been left.


Posted by neighbor, a resident of another community
on May 12, 2012 at 12:11 pm

Have you people never heard of using a poop bag, and then taking it to your own trash can to discard it? But, stop a dog from peeing outside? Are you kidding? Neverthess, you CAN USE THE LEASH to guide the dog to a proper spot.

I love my little dog (the sweetest dog ever), but like with kids there have to be basic rules...based on consideration and safety. And, the dog "parent" is supposedly the one with a higher functioning brain.

Sadly enough, that's not so evident. Yesterday, a dog owner in Menlo Park tied her dog to a lamp post on Santa Cruz on a loose clear plastic leash, then laid the leash across the sidewalk so the dog could come to the shop door to watch the owner shop. A woman with a baby tripped. A woman with a cane tripped, and the dog owner yelled at HER.

I think the "zeitgeist" along the Peninsula is in serious trouble. If only local residents could regain some common sense and courtesy, and shed some selfishness. Then, perhaps the Palo Alto Online forum could feature discussion topics at a little higher level. Instead there is a litany of contentious me-me-me complaints. The community is becoming so "special" that is seems disfunctional


Posted by Hot Diggity Dog, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 12, 2012 at 4:53 pm

Why not use dog parks to walk & exercise dogs in Palo Alto? And not your neighbors yard.


Posted by neighbor, a resident of another community
on May 12, 2012 at 5:47 pm

Hot diggity:
There are many reasons why taking the dog for a walk is necessary. Here's a couple: Dog parks aren't open at 11pm. -- and if they were, it's not a place where women and children would want to go alone. Also, many people do not live near a dog park.

I suggested that people who walk there dogs simply be considerate of others and (1) use a leash, it's the law (2) keep your animal as close to the curb as possible (3) clean up after your dog (4) put #2 in a baggie and dispose of the baggie in your own trashcan

The sidewalks are public. The streets are public. Get over it and discuss something more meaningful on PAOnline.


Posted by Adobe, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on May 12, 2012 at 10:37 pm

I don't know what you guys are talking about. The PA I've experienced is quite neighborly and friendly. People say hello or smile to each other as they pass on the sidewalks, we've often struck up conversations with other parents when we've brought our small children to play at the park. I've actually found it friendlier than other towns I've lived in on the peninsula.

Drivers here are also noticeably more cautious and slower than elsewhere in the Bay Area. People stop for children, and you don't have that rowdy teenage hot rod or pickup truck element you frequently encounter in nearby towns.

I wonder if some of the complainers here are just, well, people who like to complain a lot. Who knows, maybe 30 years ago this town was some kind of paradise and things were even better than they are today. But I have a feeling that back then, the same types of people were probably complaining about how bad the town had gotten since the good ole days decades before, and so on and so on.




Posted by Another observer, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 13, 2012 at 12:17 am

I have to confess I haven't read the whole thread, but I thought I would contribute my two cents. Pet pee on a new lawn is wrong and very rude of the dog owners who allow it. Dogs, in the other hand, are being dogs. And a brand spanking new lawn that hasn't been marked as anyone's territory is irresistible to a dog. Bad dog owners.

As for critter ridder. It's not poison and will not injure the animals. It's safe to use even in organic gardens. The county vector control recommends using it to deter animals from pooping on your property.... especially raccoons. Their poop can look like dog poop but it can carry roundworm and is something that must be cleaned up properly and immediately. Even pure bleach cannot kill roundworm eggs. I've learned too much about this recently; because even in tony Palo Alto, we've had to deal with a major raccoon poo problem, which I thought were from dogs.


Posted by Gus, a resident of Professorville
on May 13, 2012 at 9:31 am

Since the police may not be helpful in enforcing the dog laws, how about posting on YouTube videos of the selfish dog owners allowing their dogs to cause problems for their neighbors? A section could be set up called "Palo alto Problem Poopers" or "Palo Alto Socially Irresponsible Dog Owners" or whatever. Maybe embarrassment might accomplish what a conscience failed to do.


Posted by daniel, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 13, 2012 at 10:07 am

Allowing a dog to defecate on somebody else's lawn without cleaning up after it is very inconsiderate and uncool, we all agree on that. Having said that, chasing inconsiderate dog owners down the street and attempting to confront them is an indication of psychological issues far more serious and threatening than the inconsiderate behavior of the dog owner. "Disgusted" would be well served if he/she dealt with those psychological/emotional issues instead of posting here.


Posted by Hulkamania, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 13, 2012 at 1:43 pm

Set up a motion sensor that turns the sprinklers on if someone or someone's dog enters your property.


Posted by Hulkamania, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 13, 2012 at 1:46 pm

A long list of potentially infectious agents are known to live in dog and cat feces -- from E. coli to tapeworms. But perhaps less well known is the fact that a lot of these parasites actually become more infectious as the poop ages.
"It takes many types of parasite eggs a while to ripen," said Dr. Emily Beeler, an animal disease surveillance veterinarian for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. Toxoplasmosis, which is more common in cats than in dogs, typically takes more than 24 hours to become infectious, she explained. Roundworm can take up to three weeks, and then may remain infectious for years in contaminated soil and water. (A recent CDC study found 14 percent of Americans tested positive for roundworms.)
Of course, this is not to say that fresh is always best. Newly dropped doo-doo still contains tons of bacteria, noted Dr. Beeler, which may also pose a health risk.
"People just tend to think [old poop] is not as smelly, a little less disgusting," and therefore easier to scoop or simply ignore, added Dr. Beeler, who co-authored a report on the link between animal feces and infectious disease this summer.

In his song "Ordinary Average Guy", Joe Walsh reflects this common attitude:
Every Saturday we work in the yard / Pick up the dog doo / Hope that it's hard (woof woof)
Emily and other experts warn that once-a-week poop-scooping is still not enough to ensure the safety of pets and people. "We recommend daily pickup of stool," Dr. Beeler said.

The Washington State Department of Ecology has studied the local sources of pollutants and linked higher counts of fecal coliform -- an indicator for the potential presence of harmful pathogens -- to residential compared to commercial areas. This spells out dogs.


Posted by daniel, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 13, 2012 at 3:33 pm

"A long list of potentially infectious agents are known to live in dog and cat feces -- from E. coli to tapeworms. But perhaps less well known is the fact that a lot of these parasites actually become more infectious as the poop ages."

True, and leafblowers, which I bet most of those who complain about dog poop on their lawns employ, are by far the main distributor of animal poop bacteria into our air and lungs.


Posted by Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on May 13, 2012 at 4:47 pm



There are 1000s of raccoons and squirrels fouling our lawns and streets-these animals our not vaccinated can spread rabies.

Birds ducks etc droppings destroy car paint jobs and spread flu and bird flu.

Cat excrement spreads Toxoplasmosis is a parasitic disease caused by the protozoan Toxoplasma gondii.

The parasite infects most genera of warm-blooded animals, including humans, the primary host is the felid (cat) family

This cat vectored disease Recent research has also linked this cat vectored disease -toxoplasmosis-- with brain cancer, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and schizophrenia in humans.

It is also draining into ocean and killing off the cute baby otters.

I have never seen any Palo Altan scooping up after their wandering cats-

-they should be walked on leashes and their droppings picked up and the area treated as a hazmat zone


Posted by P.A. Native, a resident of Mountain View
on May 13, 2012 at 9:08 pm

Rich people problems.

I'm not trying to be rude, but all the energy spent on this is a waste in my opinion. If this is the worst part of your day you're doing just fine.


Posted by Ada, a resident of Midtown
on May 14, 2012 at 8:57 am

I completely sympathize with the writer of the post. She made a good point, and maybe some of the more conscious people who would read this become more considerate in the future.


Posted by Ivan, a resident of College Terrace
on May 14, 2012 at 9:05 am

This problem screams a political stance! Can you guess which one?


Posted by Bruce Lee, a resident of Barron Park
on May 14, 2012 at 9:49 am

I was in Macys at SSC the other day and saw a dog owner watch as his cute little dog urinated on a display in the shoe department. When I laughingly mentioned something to my daughter about how inconsiderate some pet owners are, the owner didn't seem to care and continued on his way. Face it some pet owners are really inconsiderate and just don't care!


Posted by Dog owner, a resident of Green Acres
on May 14, 2012 at 10:29 am

I have 3 dogs - i walk them for exercise and do not allow them to pee or walk on yards HOWEVER a nieghbor of mine dogs allow his dog to poop/pee on my yard, I spoke to him and he didn't care so what i did was save 2 days worth of dog poop from my dogs and then went and put it on his front yard........the problem STOPPED
Im not saying to do this but sometimes action over talking seems to win


Posted by GranmaKK, a resident of Midtown
on May 14, 2012 at 10:53 am

I understand Disgusted's points. We have lived in various neighborhoods of Palo Alto for 35 years. The majority of people here were courteous and friendly until the last 8-10 years. You could talk to others at will, discuss problems, resolve things. The current attitudes are 180 degrees from the previous. Such a shame! Maybe we old-timers or natives need to hold a mandatory symposium on the "Old Palo Alto Way."


Posted by Lab Lover, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 14, 2012 at 11:18 am

I understand some of your frustration. I love dogs and I walk my labs all the time. I don't allow them to relieve on walks- something you have to train when they're puppies. Having said that: Take a look at the following possible kinder solutions:

1. Change your watering times if the offending dog is consistent in the time he or she turns up to relieve themselves make sure the sprinklers are already going. Even having the lawn wet prior to the animal presenting itself may be a huge deterrent. I know my dogs hate to step into wet lawns.

2. Amazon sell this great motion-activated sprinkler #CRO101/CRO102(aff.) that will only come on when an animal triggers its sensors.

Hope these help. And lets move on to solve bigger problems!


Posted by daniel, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 14, 2012 at 12:33 pm

"The majority of people here were courteous and friendly until the last 8-10 years. You could talk to others at will, discuss problems, resolve things. The current attitudes are 180 degrees from the previous."

Yes, Palo Alto used to be as friendly as one can hope for. A friend from out of town once told me that he had never experienced such politeness, consideration and courtesy in any other place he visited. Something happened in the last 10-12 years. What do you think it is?


Posted by Sharon is to blame, a resident of Stanford
on May 14, 2012 at 12:39 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by gift return, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 14, 2012 at 1:03 pm

I too have found gifts in my driveway on many occasions. I did however luck out once and was able to identify the yapping non stop on the cell owner with the loose bowled dog and followed them back to their shack. I have since returned all gifts left in my driveway to them.. No DNA necessary, if it's there they get it.. Enjoy


Posted by Hmm, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on May 14, 2012 at 1:05 pm

@GranmaKK - people may have changed, but it seems possible (likely?) that your perceptions have changed. Since time began, older folks have thought that the younger generation represented a sad decline over previously better times and higher social mores.

I find Palo Alto people generally fine as people, though the desire of some to argue at length and with vigor over any local political action or anything to do with the schools has really stumped me. But I gather that is the nature of the place, not a new thing.


Posted by Jan, a resident of Downtown North
on May 14, 2012 at 2:57 pm

Put an owl inyour yard that activates on motion, it will scae the life out of them. Works day and ight.


Posted by Outside Observer, a resident of another community
on May 14, 2012 at 5:42 pm

>>"Something happened in the last 10-12 years. What do you think it is?"

Yuppies.


Posted by Hmm, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on May 14, 2012 at 5:50 pm

@Outside - the 80s called, they want their slang back ;-)


Posted by Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on May 14, 2012 at 6:55 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by the_punnisher, a resident of Mountain View
on May 14, 2012 at 7:34 pm

the_punnisher is a registered user.

I love all the yuppies vs older resident comments; the divide is very obvious...

Some solutions:

( yes, I know I'm shouting ) IF YOU HAVE A HOA, THIS IS THE PERFECT PLACE TO START YOUR COMPLAINT PROCESS!

That is what an HOA is supposed to do with all that money the have taken from you! Many HOA people LOVE to explain ( dictate ) to members why it is illegal to behave in such a manner...If you have read the news lately, you can suffer serious consequences at the hands of an HOA " enforcer ".

For people who want the PAPD TO DO THEIR JOBS you have to get your property on a legally grounded basis for your complaint.

That means a visible POSTED NO TRESPASSING sign. Having that sign can resolve many problems from a legal standpoint. If your property is damaged in any way, you are legally able to conduct a citizen's arrest if you witness the act causing property damage. After a few of these types of calls, your PD gets the message and dog owners get a citation ( or a stay in the PAPD pokey ) and will have to attend a seminar on the rights AND RESPONSIBILITIES of a dog owner who uses other peoples lawns as a public port-a-potty.

After it cost $$$ and time, even the most hard boiled Yuppie gets the message...

The sign makes good evidence when you take the property damagers to small claims court...

For people that are not castrated by local weapons laws, that NO TRESPASSING SIGN. allows great leeway in what you can do, especially with uncontrolled animals.

One exception: I allow quite a bit of leeway when it is bear or cougar scat in my front yard....Those animals were here FIRST!!!

This is not to be construed as legal advice, just common sense from a landowner's point of view...


Posted by Outside Observer, a resident of another community
on May 14, 2012 at 7:45 pm

@Hmm, Yeah I know the term is dated, but everyone knows what it means. Unfortunately the proper 21st century term for "Yuppies" would get censored.

@Sharon, the recent Asian residents of Palo Alto are the ONLY redeeming factor Palo Alto has. Without them the percentage of "Yuppies" would reach critical mass. Also, I forgot to thank you for validating my method of dog control. Your response was perfect! Often you are my best advocate, and I do appreciate it!


Posted by Jon S, a resident of Barron Park
on May 14, 2012 at 8:59 pm

I've been trying to teach my dog to read for 13 years, but he still tries to pee on NO TRESPASSING signs instead of obeying them. I have solved that by keeping him on a leash and not letting him pee on tires (they rot) or gateposts (smelly). He and his predecessors have peed on telephone poles ivy plants without destroying them. I have not been able to keep the crows from messing up my driveway--any suggestions?


Posted by dogged, a resident of Crescent Park
on May 14, 2012 at 9:13 pm

Some of you folks need to move to a high rise apartment building on the train tracks. No lawns! Problem solved.

Just curious: what do y'all do about the squirrels and raccoons and other critters that view your property as prime rest stop territory? Sit out on the porch with your bb gun? Build an electroshock fence to ward off all intruders? What do you do about acid rain?

Maybe it's time to stop planting grass. Doesn't really belong in this climate anyway.


Posted by Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on May 14, 2012 at 9:32 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by No more Asians, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 14, 2012 at 10:05 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by neighbor, a resident of another community
on May 14, 2012 at 10:44 pm

Editors....do you see what your constant articles stirring up discontent as much as possible, on the most banal topics, actually does? People feel put out and threatened over absolutely nothing and rant over trivial "threats."

Then the crazies and racists come out.

Palo Alto does not seem like the same place it was only a few years ago...at least on these pages. It may be rich, but it seems like an ugly community.


Posted by Lila, a resident of Downtown North
on May 15, 2012 at 8:54 am

this is a battle of the rule followers versus the non-rule followers....it's a mentality that won't change...


Posted by Duv mom, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 15, 2012 at 11:29 am

For as crazy and rude you think Palo Alto residents are I think you sound equally crazy and rude but for different reasons. Life is short, enjoy it all the colorful characters that you get to encounter. Things could be so much worse.


Posted by daniel, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 15, 2012 at 11:32 am

A neighbor of mine is a notorious complainer about dogs pooping on her front lawn, yet she is also a notorious runner of red lights and stop signs and has absolutely no idea she has a turn signal lever in her car, right next to the steering wheel. Other habitual complainers employ gardeners who use gasoline leafblowers, which happen to be banned in Palo Alto, while bitterly whining about other residents who don't follow the rules. Some people complain about others not following rules when it hits close to home, but don't bother to follow much more important rules themselves. That's why I find the whining about dog poop, or other trivia so laughable.


Posted by Donna, a resident of Midtown
on May 15, 2012 at 11:49 am


This is about rules and laws, but it is really about people being considerate and nice to other people. Rules and laws are made to protect people from the selfish jerks, but it would be better if people could get over themselves and be considerate and helpful.


Posted by the_punnisher, a resident of Mountain View
on May 15, 2012 at 12:34 pm

the_punnisher is a registered user.


For the Yuppie with more mouth than brains:

" I have not been able to keep the crows from messing up my driveway--any suggestions? "

You buy a fake owl to put on your rooftop. Many garden supply places have then to take care of this problem..

Back OT:

I'm reminded of Robert Anson Heinlein's quote:

" An ARMED society is a POLITE society "

That implies that Common Sense ( which isn't common these days ) can prevail when people have to take RESPONSIBILITY for their behavior AT ALL TIMES. You were required to choose between your smart mouth or your LIFE in those early days of California. Darwinism at it's best.

When you are a weapon holder, you were taught What, When, Where, Why, Who and How to use it. That training is REQUIRED before you get a CCW permit..Yes, some of your SMART people around you are carrying and you don't even know it!

( That saying is familiar, I wonder if anyone on the staff of the Palo Alto Times recognizes it, a newspaper in the right hands is indeed a weapon ).

Up in the Mountains, OPEN CARRY is a necessity to survive the animals listed in my previous post if you are attacked. Unfortunately, some TWO LEGGED animals fit that description as well.

That is why Colorado has the " Make My Day " law on the books. AND USES IT!

'Later


Posted by C, a resident of Barron Park
on May 15, 2012 at 12:47 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 18, 2012 at 3:48 pm

Disgusted - I thought of you today. I was at a stop sign in Crescent Park & watched a woman allow her dog to take a dump on the corner of someone's lawn while the woman just texted away. She ever so leisurely took out a bag to clean it up, but really? she just HAD to let it crap on someone else's property.


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