Greenwood council defeats pet cleanup fine ordinance

Greenwood already has rules that would allow the city to fine pet owners for not cleaning up after their animals, so a new rule isn’t needed, the city’s police chief said.

The city already has laws about littering, and creating new ones would be unnecessary and time consuming to enforce, Greenwood Police Chief John Laut said.

The city council had given initial approval to a set of fines for owners who don’t clean up after their pets two weeks ago, but this week defeated the proposal in a final 6-2 vote. Council members Linda Gibson and Mike Campbell voted in favor of the rule; council member Brent Corey was absent.

Council member Bruce Armstrong described the proposed fine as another tool police could use to keep the city clean.

Laut said the new rule wasn’t necessary.

“We already have that tool,” he said.

The city already has a littering ordinance that can fine someone $15 if they don’t clean up dog waste left on public property, such as parks, he said.

The proposed rule would have had a fine of $25 for a first offense, and $30 and $40 for the next violations on public or private property, such as neighbors’ yards.

For private property, this issue is a matter of civility that shouldn’t have to be policed, Laut said.

Gibson said she lives on a property between two apartment complexes, whose dog walkers consistently leave waste in her yard.

Gibson’s situation, and those of other property owners, could be addressed with trespassing laws, city attorney Krista Taggart said.

Though feces in public parks is a complaint, geese are likely a larger contribute to the mess than negligent dog owners, Laut said.

And if officers were sent to patrol parks, he questioned whether it would be a good use of an their time to follow a dog walker to make sure animal waste is being cleaned up, he said.

“Is this really what we want our police officers doing,” Laut asked the council.

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Jacob Tellers is a reporter at the Daily Journal. He can be reached at jtellers@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2702.