george hancockstefanOn a sunny day in December, I was asked by my family to walk our dog for a long time because that afternoon she would spend about 8 hours in her crate. Therefore, I took a walk for over one hour and visited many streets of our lovely town, both main streets and side streets. It was great to see our town on such a gorgeous day and to be greeted by so many of our great local residents. We have been in this town now for 24 years and our family really enjoys living here.

As I was walking our dog, I was also appalled at the extensive amounts of dog poop on so many of our streets. Now, I was raised on the farm where we used to take the cow and horse manure to the fields for soil enrichment, so I am not finicky when I see dog poop. However, on one short street, there was so much dog poop that I thought that they must have had a secret dog convention, or better, a protest convention and this was the evidence that they were displeased with the neighborhood.

Because we consider that we, the residents of this community, are such wonderful people, I thought that most likely the dogs that came to poop on our streets were from Howell or Middletown or some other place, because, we, the good residents of this community, would never do this. Quickly though, I had to convince myself that it was not the dogs of any other community, but the dogs of our community taken out by our local residents who have made such an awful mess.

I was probably so infuriated that day because, for a number of months, some people walked their dogs around the church and I often had to clean their dog’s poop. My first reaction was that we have been targeted because this person has something against the church, but my afternoon walk demonstrated that it was not only the church, but many streets in our neighborhood. In our situation, it is particularly sad, because many groups use our building at night, and frequently step out of their cars, onto the curb, and into a “deposit” left by our neighborly dogs.

I know that our community loves dogs because we have so many. But if we love our dogs so much, I think that we should also love our neighbors and their properties. One of my daughters, a member of the EMS of our community, also sees this as a health hazard.


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I am always well-supplied with bags, but one time I found myself without any in my pockets. I came home, took my car and a couple of bags, and went back and cleaned up the mess of my dog.

So I plead with you, be the good resident that we all think we are. Clean up after your dog in front of the houses of God in this community, clean up after your dog in front of your neighbors, clean up after your dog even in those small streets where one side of the street does not have homes and clean up after your dog in the designated park areas so that all of us can enjoy them.

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Rev. Dr. George Hancock-Stefan

George Hancock-Stefan

Pastor George Hancock-Stefan completed 30 years as the pastor of the great congregation at Central Baptist Church in Atlantic Highlands in 2020. Those 30 years have been a blessed time for him, his wife...