Council revists public pooch poop problem
By Anthony Varriano
Ranger-Review Staff Writer
The city ordinance committee Monday forwarded a recommendation for penalizing citizens who don’t pick up after their pets to city attorney Scott Herring to determine its feasibility.
Jason Stuart presented the recommendation, citing Facebook page complaints of dogs defecating in yards and stepping in feces in Glendive parks as examples of the growing problem.
This is not the first time the city ordinance committee has received this complaint from a concerned citizen. Mayor Jerry Jimison presented meeting minutes from a year ago, almost to the day, stating the committee would “consider assigning a penalty fee” for public pet defecation.
The current code classifies public pet defecation as a misdemeanor. The maximum general penalty misdemeanor is a fine of up to $500 and up to six months in jail.
Stuart took it a step further, offering more reasonable penalties that do not include jail time for the violation.
Just as any other crime, video footage and corroborating witnesses would serve as evidence in order to enforce the penalties. Stuart cited the growing use of smartphones and tablets as a reason he thinks enforcement will work.
“I just brought it forward as an idea — a starting place,” Stuart said. “I see it as a way to give teeth to the ordinance.”
Stuart’s proposal also addressed keeping cats from running at large.
Police Chief Ty Ulrich said the city may be sending mixed messages with regards to pets in the parks. According to Ulrich, the city code doesn’t allow animals in public parks, but concerned citizens have privately funded and dispersed waste disposal units in some parks, providing bags to encourage pet owners to clean up after their pets.
The mayor commended Stuart’s effort and research before the committee moved to have the recommendation sent to Herring to determine feasibility of implementation.
Anthony Varriano can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.