09/05/2014 04:08 EDT | Updated 11/05/2014 05:59 EST

Not safe for cops to pick up after their horses, Toronto police say in #poopchat

TORONTO - A photo of horse manure on a bike lane in Toronto posted on Twitter has prompted the city's police force to explain the poop-and-scoop policy of its mounted unit.

The Twitter discussion — under the hashtag #poopchat — captured widespread attention Friday afternoon and spurred countless online jokes.

Police spokesman Const. Victor Kwong explained that the city's poop-and-scoop bylaws don't apply to horses and that officers often aren't aware when their mounts do their business.

He said it "might be unsafe to dismount to scoop" because horses aren't always under control, but officers do their best to "kick it off to the side" whenever possible.

Otherwise, he said they'll try to "radio in for cleanup."

He encouraged residents to call 311 when they see manure in the street, so the city can send someone to pick it up.