Should Citizens Report Dog Waste Violators?
Local officials weighed in on the topic at Wednesday's meeting
Selectman Barry Greenfield believes the town should pass a new law that allows residents to photo other citizens who do not pick up after their dogs.
Greenfield, who said he almost stepped in a large pile of dog waste recently, proposed that residents should be allowed to use their cell phones and tablets to photograph dog owners who do not pick up after their dogs. The photos could be forwarded to the town for enforcement.
Chief Ron Madigan said any complaints about dog waste violations should be sent to the Health Department, not the police. He said police officers can write a violation for dog owners who do not pick up the dog's waste.
But he said he did not "think that was done very often."
The police department received a complaint from one woman who said an officer "slandered her" when he asked her to pick up after her dog, the chief said. That investigation is on-going, Madigan said.
Town Administrator Thomas Younger questioned whether the proposal, if it became town law, might threaten the physical safety of someone who photographed a violating dog owner.
"If you are taking a photo of someone who is not picking up after their dog, there is the possibility of physical confrontation," Younger said.
Greenfield said the town already accepts photos of potholes.
Several selectman noted that a pothole would not pose a threat to the photographer.
Selectman Jill Sullivan also said she was not sure how the town could enforce the violation based on a photo. "How would they know who it is?" she asked.
Greenfield said people in town know each other.
"It is the six degrees of separation. Somebody would know who it is," he said.
Selectman David Van Dam was also annoyed with dog waste left unattended.
“Some people just let their dogs go in my yard. Others bag it and throw it in my yard. I appreciate the baggers,” he said.