The status of feces of animals and birds regarding prayer and Torah study-Summary of laws:
- The general rule-no bad scent: In general, the feces of animals and birds do not have the status of Tzoa and there is hence no need to distance oneself from it at all unless the feces has a bad scent dissipating from it, as will be explained. It is therefore permitted to pray and learn Torah even if it is next to one’s feet and within one’s view. There are however several animals and birds which are of exception to this rule and their feces have the same status as human feces, as will be explained.
- Has a bad scent: If the animal feces have a bad scent dissipating from it then one must distance himself from it until he can no longer smell it. However, there is no requirement to distance oneself 4 cubits from where the smell ceases and rather simply distancing oneself until the smell can no longer be scented suffices. [Likewise, there is no requirement to distance oneself from it until it is no longer in his sight.]
- The animals and birds whose feces have the same status as human feces: The feces of the following animals and birds have the same status as human feces, of which the law is that one must distance himself four cubits from the feces, and if they have a bad scent then one must distance himself four cubits from the area in which its scent ceases, and it may not be within his view, while praying or learning Torah. The reason for this is because their feces generally have a terrible stench just like feces of a human. Nonetheless, they retain the status of human feces even if they happen to not smell.
- The soft feces and urine that are expelled by a donkey after returning from travel.
- The feces of a cat.
- The feces of a rodent.
- Corpse: The corpse of an animal [Niveila] which smells bad has the same Halachic status as human feces.
- The feces of an English red hen have the same status of human feces.
- Chicken coop and barn: A chicken coop has the same status as human feces due to their intense bad smell. [The same applies for a barn and any area of animals. Accordingly, one is to beware not rent a vacation home in such vicinities where the stench of a barn reaches one’s nose. If one already did so, then during times that one can smell the awful stench of the barn one is to avoid learning Torah or praying until the stench leaves or he enters an area that does not smell, although in a time of need one may be lenient to spray air freshener in the room to overcome the smell. Likewise, in a time of need, one may be lenient if he is no longer conscious of the smell due to becoming accustomed to it.]
- Dog and pig excrement used for tanning leather: The feces of a dog or a pig receives the same status as human feces if one places leather into it [for the sake of tanning the leather, as in such a case it gives off a terrible stench]. However, regular feces of a dog or pig that is not mixed with leather, is not considered like human feces but rather like the feces of any other animal, and hence one may pray within its view, and next to it, so long as its smell does not reach one’s nose.
- Mouth of a pig: The mouth of a pig has the same status as human feces, being that they spend their time within feces and hence receive the status of a Geraf Shel Reiy.
- List of feces of animals that are not problematic: The feces of all animals and birds not listed above, do not have the status of human feces, and hence one is only required to distance oneself from them if the scent reaches one’s nose as explained above. This includes the feces of the following animals [a partial nonexclusive list]:
- Cow feces
- dog feces
- pig feces
- chicken feces
- bird droppings
- horse feces
- Identifying the source of the feces: Regular animal feces that is found on the ground is not assumed to be from one of the above problematic animals unless one can recognize it as such, or it has a bad stench and the problematic animal is commonly found in the area.
- Practical application regarding pets: Those who have pet animals and birds in their house must especially be careful in the above matter, not to pray or learn Torah near the feces of their pet, unless it is not in the list of problematic animals and birds, and the scent does not reach one’s nose. For example, one may pray next to his birdcage which contains bird droppings, or next to his aquarium which contains fish droppings. However, he may not pray near or within sight of feces that were dropped by his pet cat.
 See Admur 76:3; 79:8-9; Ketzos Hashulchan 10:7; Piskeiy Teshuvos 79:6-7
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