The more than 2,500 dog owners in the city can no longer stand idly by after their pooches leave their droppings on private and public property in Bristol.
Unless the dog does its business on the owner’s own land – or someone else’s who doesn’t mind – the city will soon be able to slap a $25 fine.
City councilors unanimously approved the new law Tuesday that mandates dog owners clean up after their pets. The measure specifically applies only to dogs, not to other domestic animals that may wander onto the property of others.
City Councilor Craig Minor, who heads the Ordinance Committee that pushed the new statute, said one interesting twist is that the law requires dog owners to have “a means to clean up after their dog” with them whenever they’re out and about with their pet.
That allows police officers to check to make sure the owner was ready and able to follow through on the law’s mandates without actually witnessing the owner failing to do what the law requires.
That means that dog owners need to have bags or containers with them if they’re out and about with their pets – every time – or they could wind up with a ticket.
City Attorney Dale Clift, who came up with provision, said that 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 nowhere else.
Even now, there’s no 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, a much heftier tab than letting a dog leave its droppings in a neighbor’s yard.
The law goes into effect 14 days after it’s officially published in the newspaper, which will probably occur within a few days.
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
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