Some Americans Just Don't Scoop Poop

Caroline OsseDigital Content
June 12, 2012, 1:08 PM GMT+0

Picking your preferred pet has historically been divided between cat and dog lovers. How cat or dog owners take care of their pets, particularly in public, is another case altogether.

YouGov polled dog owners about their dog-related habits and caretaking. Of all respondents, 42% own a dog. Among demographics, more Republicans own dogs (48%) than Democrats (39%) or Independents (41%). Regionally, a higher percentage of those living in the Midwest own a dog (48%) while the lowest percentage of dog-owners are those living in the Northeast (36%).

In terms of pet caretaking habits, YouGov asked dog owners three questions: Do you clean up after your dog? Do you let your dog sleep with you? Do you think dogs should go unleashed in appropriate public areas?

A majority of respondents claim to clean up after their dogs in the street (76%). Only 10% of Democrats and 12% of Liberals do not clean up after their dogs. On the other hand, 32% of Republicans and 30% of Conservatives do not clean up after their dogs. Independents (29%) and Moderates (22%) fall in the middle between the two.

Among demographic regions, 89% of Northeasterners clean up after their dogs while only 70% of Midwesterners, the region with the highest percentage of dog owners, do.

Responding dog owners are almost perfectly split between whether they let their dogs sleep with them or not. 55% of dog owners do; the highest percentage is Midwesterners (66%) and lowest is Northeasterners (45%). A majority of dog-owning Conservatives (61%) and Liberals (63%) do let their dogs sleep with them while a small majority of Moderates (52%) do not.

The final section of the poll asked dog owners whether they believed dogs should be unleashed in appropriate public places, particularly areas away from cars. Only 14% of respondents believe that dogs should be unleashed, while 70% disagree and 16% are unsure. In allowing unleashed dogs, the highest percentage among demographics is the younger age group, ages 18-29; 24% of them believe that dogs should be allowed to be unleashed in safe public places while just about half (52%) do not. However, 82% of the older generation, ages 65+, do not think that it should be allowed at all, and only 6% disagree.

The only other deviation from the total respondents is among the family income demographic. For households earning more than $100K+ per year, 25% believe that owners should be allowed to unleash their dogs in public. In both households earning between $40K-100K and less than $40K per year, 11% agree.