BY FRANK LOMBARDI
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Thursday, August 23rd 2007, 4:00 AM
The city's sanitation chief is out to put a big bite on pooper-scooper scofflaws by raising the fine for violations to $200 from $100.
Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty said yesterday that preparations to raise the fine for dog owners who fail to clean up after their petsare already underway in conjunction with the city Environmental Control Board, which adjudicates parking tickets and other summonses.
A formal announcement will be made "in the next couple of months," Doherty said while testifying before the City Council's Sanitation Committee on an unrelated bill.
New York passed its pooper-scooper law in 1978. More than 1,000 tickets are issued each year, with fines that have been kept to a range of $50 to $100.
But Doherty said the problem of dog waste is growing, and the existing pooper-scooper law allows for the fine to be raised to $200, without having to get the approval of Albany or the Council.
The dog-waste topic surfaced while Doherty was testifying in favor of a bill to raise the maximum fine for dumping residential or commercial trash into street litter baskets to $400 from $300. The full Council later approved the bill, 43 to 0.
City Councilman Robert Jackson (D-Manhattan) suggested to Doherty that the litter-basket bill include the option of imposing community service rather than a fine.
"I'd even like to see that [done] with dog poop," Jackson added, prompting Doherty's comments on raising the pooper-scooper fine.
In discussing the litter-basket bill, Doherty said that on average, 20% of the contents found in the city's 25,000 street baskets consists of improperly dumped household or commercial trash. In some areas, it's as high as 50% or 60%, he said.