Scoop the Poop – It’s the Law!

Posted on: February 21, 2014

dogpoosign It’s a problem that gets on lots of people’s nerves – the scourge of dog owners who don’t clean up after their pets in Downtown Laurel.

The signs are easy to spot – the flattened deposit bearing the imprint of a shoe, the anxious parent quickly steering their child to one side, the man repeatedly wiping his foot on the curb. Few things irritate people quite so much as the abandoned deposits produced by dogs. The 78 million dogs in America collectively produce 10 million tons of poop each year, according to a 2010 study.

Dog mess is one of the most common causes of complaints to local officials. Along with the Laurel Main Street, it has launched a campaign to remind the minority of bad owners to clean up after their animals. Laurel Mayor Johnny Magee has received numerous calls about the growing problem in Downtown Laurel and reiterates that picking up after dogs is not only the polite thing to do, but it is the law.

    Under city ordinance 506.03.13 pertaining to Animal Control, it reads, “Dog owners are responsible for picking up their own pet’s feces and disposing of them properly in a trash receptacle. Any and all damages caused by a pet are the responsibility of the pet owner.”

In reality there shouldn’t be a problem – you own a dog, it eats, it poops, you clean it up. Failing to do so is anti-social, smelly and can spread diseases. Dog waste contains bacteria and parasites that can contaminate water bodies and make people sick. Left on the ground, droppings from about 100 canines over the course of two or three days can generate enough bacteria to close bays and other bodies of water in a 20-mile radius.

“Showing off the downtown is one of many perks of working with Laurel Main Street,” says Judi Holifield, Executive Director. “We have a beautiful historic area and people really enjoy walking, riding bikes, running and walking their dogs through the scenic avenues and downtown. There is a lot of pride in the phrase, “the City Beautiful” built on its parks, trees and well-kept landscaping.

So, what can be done to rid streets and parks of their mess? Obey the law – pick it up!