Ask Amy: Law Disallows Pet Pooping In Yards

POSTED: 12:04 pm CDT September 11, 2007

HOUSTON -- Your pet may be the source of your neighbor's pet peeve. Dog owners who don't clean up after Fido have earned Houston the title of the least responsible city in America when it comes to scooping the poop.

Some viewers asked KPRC Local 2 investigative reporter Amy Davis what to do about inconsiderate dog owners.

The City of Houston Health Department said if anyone sees someone letting a dog use a lawn as a toilet, he or she should speak up and say that it's not OK. That will usually embarrass the pet owner into cleaning up the dog's act.

While Houston is making strides becoming an animal-friendly city with dog parks, a recent survey conducted by Merial Limited shows Houstonians believe our pet-owning residents deserve to be in the dog house, ranking Houston the lowest on the list for responsible scooping.

San Francisco got the title of the most responsible.

While scooping a pet's poop is common courtesy, it's also required by a city of Houston ordinance also known as the pooper-scooper law.

It reads, "It is the duty of each person in control of a dog or cat to promptly remove and dispose of, in a sanitary manner, feces left by such dog or cat."

Violating the ordinance is punishable by a fine anywhere from $75 to $500.

However, Gwen McGee, the viewer who e-mailed KPRC, will not be happy about one thing.

The health department said inspectors are not out enforcing the pooper-scooper law because they are too busy.

Officials said homeowners could put signs in a yard asking neighbors to keep pets off the lawn or pick up after them.

To read the full ordinance, visit

If you have a consumer question to "Ask Amy," send her an e-mail.

Copyright 2007 by All rights reserved.

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