Council weighs pet fine policy

Dog owners are in need of obedience training in Greenwood, and now the city is looking into fining animal owners who fail to clean up after their pets.

Currently, the city doesn’t have any rules in place addressing what should happen when residents don’t clean up after their pets in city parks or in their neighbors’ yards, city council member Mike Campbell said.

“If there is a problem, no one has any tools to combat it,” Cambell said.

His proposal is to fine those pet owners if they are caught, with a $25 fine for the first offense, $30 for the second and $40 for the third.

The question is how the rules would be enforced.

The city won’t have a police patrol on the lookout for offenders.

And Campbell wouldn’t want a resident to call police if they spotted a neighbor’s dog’s waste left in their yard.

“It’s an issue that should be dealt with between neighbors,” Campbell said. “They shouldn’t call a police officer.”

But putting the rule in place is still important because it will raise awareness with residents that they need to clean up after their pets, Campbell said.

Most dog owners are responsible, but creating this rule would help educate those who aren’t, Campbell said.

Similar fines were proposed in 2003, but ultimately the city council nixed it due to concerns the rules would be too costly and time-consuming for the police department to enforce.

If an officer witnessed someone failing to pick up after their dog, they would fine them, but it isn’t something they would be investigating, said Greenwood Police Department spokesperson Kortney Burrello.

“We’d have to see the violation occur to be able to enforce it,” she said. “How would we be able to tell it is the neighbor’s dog, and not the dog that lives down the street?”

The rules would also apply to city parks.

Greenwood Parks and Recreation Director Rob Taggart agrees that dog waste is a problem in some parks. To combat it, the city has installed doggie bag stations to assist owners in picking up after their pets, he said.

If the council approved the fines, the parks department would put up signage to inform people of the rules, Taggart said.

At a glance

The Greenwood City Council is considering a new rule to fine pet owners who fail to clean up after their pet’s waste. The rule would apply to both private and city property, including parks.

If approved, pet owners would face:

  • a $25 fine for the first offense
  • $30 for the second offense
  • $40 for the third offense within the same year.
Author photo
Jacob Tellers is a reporter at the Daily Journal. He can be reached at jtellers@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2702.