Last updated on: 1/22/2007 6:37:43 PM by Brandon Gunnoe
CHARLOTTE COUNTY: City officials in Punta Gorda say the lack of people cleaning up after their dogs is making a stink in their community and the problem needs to be addressed. Dog owners are asked to take the pooper scooper ordinance seriously, because if you don't clean up after your best friend - you could be breaking the law and it's going to cost you.
Punta Gorda resident Nancy Pauley says she always cleans up after her two dogs. She says anyone else walking upright should do the same.
"If you're going to take your dog out, be responsible for it. Nobody should have to live with your dog's poop," said Pauley.
Monday, after all the laughing stopped during a meeting with the Punta Gorda Planning Commission, officials recommended that city council approve the ordinance which will make it illegal to walk your dog in the city without carrying some type of container to get rid of your dog's waste at all times.
"How come we don't have an ordinance requiring people to pick up after their dogs? While many of us think we should do that naturally, many people don't," said Punta Gorda City Manager Howard Kunik.
But enforcing the ordinance isn't going to be easy. You can call and make a complaint, but a Code Enforcement officer actually has to catch the dog and dog owner in the act in order to issue a citation.
If the ordinance passes, a dog owner would be fined $25 for the first offense, $50 for the second violation, and a $100 for each additional violation.
Punta Gorda dog owner Jim Nelson says he has mixed feelings pooper scooper law.
"It sounds like it may be taking it a bit far. At the same time, I can understand the concern for somebody having a pet dirty their front yard on a walk," said Nelson.
City leaders say they hope just letting people know this new ordinance could exist will make more of dog owners scoop the poop.
The pooper scooper ordinance still has to go in front of Code Enforcement and the City Council before it can go into effect.
Seeing eye dogs are exempt of the rule. Also, officials say whatever you want to let your dog do in your own yard is your business.