It is now mandatory for pet owners to properly dispose of animal waste when walking their pets.
By JOHN W. GOODWIN JR.
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
POLAND -- Village residents who walk their pets in the streets and parks here can no longer allow their four-legged friend to let nature take its course without a scoop and bag to collect the end result.
Village council has passed an ordinance making it mandatory that residents properly dispose of their pet's waste when it is dropped on any public property. The ordinance, originally called the pooper scooper ordinance, will be called the pet waste ordinance.
In the ordinance a pet owner is defined as anyone who harbors, keeps, controls or possesses an animal. Sections of the ordinance say that pet owners should not permit their pets to defecate in public places, but should the animal take the liberty the owner "shall immediately remove and dispose of said waste in an enclosed container and properly dispose of it."
Penalties: Violators of the new ordinance, if convicted, will be fined no more than $50 and no less than $25 per offense.
Mayor Ruth Wilkes said a version of the ordinance was passed about 10 years ago, but certain issues with the ordinance being passed were not properly done at that time. Council has been considering reintroducing the ordinance since that time, she said.
Wilkes said the ordinance is mainly to give structure to residents who do not already clean up the messes left behind by their pets.
"A lot of people when walking their animals, especially their dogs, are very considerate of others and automatically clean up," she said. "But there are a few people who are not so considerate and that, unfortunately, is causing us to take this action to encourage those people in other ways."
Areas affected: The ordinance includes both parks in the village, the library grounds, and streets and sidewalks and any other public grounds. Although the Poland Woods are included, Wilkes said the ordinance will mainly deal with streets, sidewalks and other areas where people are likely to be walking.
Enforcing the ordinance will require a police officer to actually catch the family pet in action and the owner not taking proper action in order to receive a citation.
Police Chief Russell D. Beatty Jr. could not be reached for comment.