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.

David Arsenault November 17, 2012 at 04:10 PM
Thank's for the info Lenny, The raw sewer is only one prob. The big one is the street run off that comes in like a tide and just inundates our homes. I did call mass highway, So much that they sent out a crew with a video cam. to check the pipes. They didn't see any tree roots or collapse but there is a small pipe wich should be replaced/larger one. Although it wasn't just my calling that got them out here the town also had to get involved. So that is my point we homeowners can call all we want but like with Swampscott No one cares enough to move on anything. However when another municipality gets involved things happen. I'll take your advice and call them maybe all I can do is report the negligence. Again these are things younger, and other town reps should be doing instead of discussing dog doo.
Lenny November 17, 2012 at 04:18 PM
The MWRA also provides assistance to cities and towns within the water service area for rehabilitation of their locally-owned water distribution systems. About 35% of the 6,100 mile network of community pipes are older unlined pipes. The goal of the program is to maintain water quality by aiding communities in the improvement of the local pipes that water must pass through to reach consumers. Funds are distributed quarterly and communities are required to repay the principal amount of each year's loan over a ten-year period beginning one year after project funding. http://www.mwra.com/04water/html/distpipes.htm Go to the Local Pipeline Assistance Program page for more information.
Lenny November 17, 2012 at 04:29 PM
David, the EPA has a number of ZERO interest loans and grants available. I saw one program that 55% grant / 45% zero interest loan. I won't bug you anymore with these suggestions, but it appears to me that moving outside appealing to the town would be the best course for now. Complaints to the EPA, the Health Dept, etc might be the way to proceed now. I know the flooding is a bigger issue for you and your neighbors, but my suspicion is that the health hazard posed by the raw sewerage is what would be the bigger interest to the state and the Fed agencies.
mary webster November 18, 2012 at 04:49 PM
To the initial article, allowing photographing of such an incident to become a law is just wrong on a number of reasons stated above and more.
Toni Wesselhoeft November 18, 2012 at 06:23 PM
I live behind the Stop&Shop in Vinnin Square. Many of my neighbors and myself use the path to Stop&Shop. Many dog owners use this as a "Dog park". They never use a scooper. Last week two dobermans were running around. Food is being carried from shopping. These people get out of their cars to walk their dogs. Getting there license plate number is easy or at least get a sign saying "THIS IS NOT A DOG PARK' Toni


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