Collaring poop scofflaws

Tuesday, September 11, 2007, 4:00 AM


Most of us who have stepped in the consequences of pooper-scooper negligence have entertained thoughts of capital punishment for the inconsiderate, ah, perpetrators.

Tempers cool after the footwear has been sanitized, and fantasies of lethal injections fade along with memories of the anger and inconvenience and embarrassment, but the issue of proper punishment persists.

Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty wants to double the current fine for not cleaning up after a pet from $50 to $100. Beyond that Doherty cannot go without legislation in Albany, but he has indicated that he would like state lawmakers to increase the fine to $250.

Though the idea of pooper-scooper scofflaws getting zapped with a big fine is appealing, upping the punishment ante isn't necessarily the right way to go. The worst offenders are already crafty evaders of the existing level of fines. If the price goes up and enforcement practices stay the same, normally law-abiding citizens caught on the one day of the year they didn't bring enough plastic bags will likely end up taking the weight.

A much better approach would be to increase enforcement, targeting the spots frequented by scofflaws. A recent story in the Daily News identified such a location on Arion Road in Ozone Park.

The NYPD has enjoyed great success with the tactic of flooding high-crime areas with officers. The Sanitation Department should do something similar with low-scoop locations.

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