Dog owners will face $25 fines if they fail to clean up after their pets under a new city law slated for passage next month.
The city’s Ordinance Committee this week agreed to recommend that city councilors adopt the new law in order to force dog owners to scoop the poop whenever they walk their animals on public or private property that doesn’t belong to them.
The proposed law would force owners to possess a container or bag at all times “to pick up the doings of the dog,” said Dale Clift, the city attorney.
Clift said that instead of simply mandating that dog owners clean up after their pets – which can be hard to prove unless police officers catch the dog and its owner in the act of leaving the scene of the crime – the language also requires that owners possess something that shows they plan to do their civic duty.
After all, Clift said, someone lacking a means to scoop the poop “is not going to pick up after the dog.”
The existing law in Bristol requires owners to pick up after their pet on school or park property, but that’s it. There’s not even a leash law in town, though pets are supposed to be “under the control” of owners at all times.Ignoring the pooper scooper laws in the parks and on school property, imposed in 1995, can lead to $90 fines.
The city considered extending its poop-scooping law to include the property along sidewalks a decade ago, but dropped the idea because councilors thought the problem was minimal and enforcement unlikely.
There are more than 2,500 registered dogs in the city, with hundreds more unlicensed.
The City Council will likely take up the issue at its July 9 meeting. If the ordinance is approved, it would probably take effect about August 1.
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