Pet waste fine gets initial approval from city council

Dog owners who don’t pick up after their pets in city parks and neighborhoods could soon face fines.

A new rule and fines that range from $25 to $40 were given initial approval by the Greenwood City Council this week with a vote of 5-3. Council members David Hopper, Chuck Landon and Ron Bates voted no. A final vote is slated for the next council meeting.

Dog waste has become a serious problem in city parks, council member Brent Corey said.

“It is like land mines in Freedom Park,” he said.

Others said the rule would be difficult to administer.

It’s an unenforceable rule, Landon said.

If the majority of the offenders are in city parks and trails, Landon questioned how likely is it that an officer is going to be patrolling the area and catch them.

The fines would be an overreach by city government, he said.

“We already have too many regulations like this,” Landon said.

A police officer would need to observe the violation to write a ticket, city attorney Krista Taggart said.

That requirement would be no different than catching someone speeding, Corey said.

Corey offered an amendment to the rule to allow parks employee to write tickets for offenders in the same way they are already allowed to for smokers.

But Rob Taggart, the parks director, told council members he didn’t want his employees to have that authority. Taggart said he would be comfortable writing the tickets himself, but the task isn’t one his employees are trained to do, he said.

The proposal to give parks and recreation employees the ability to write tickets failed after a 4-4 vote.

Landon, Bruce Armstrong, Bates and David Leske voted against it. Ezra Hill was absent.

Police authority shouldn’t be given to people who aren’t police, Landon 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.
Jacob Tellers is a reporter at the Daily Journal. He can be reached at or 317-736-2702.