Clean up or pay up

Published 12:36 am Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Recent Sound Off comments have asked for laws regarding dogs on the Washington waterfront and cleaning up after said dogs on the waterfront.

Such laws exist. They are part of the City of Washington’s ordinances.

Here’s the ordinance: “It shall be unlawful to have a dog on a leash or not on a leash on the boardwalk, excluding seeing-eye dogs. Dogs are allowed on the promenade on a leash. Failure to remove feces is a violation of section 4-40(b) and subjects the violator to a penalty as more specifically provided for in section 4-52.”

The people complaining are doing a public service by reminding others — residents and visitors alike — to clean up after their dogs if those dogs use the Stewart Parkway promenade and adjacent areas as the places where they do their “business.” That’s a kind of business Washington does not need.

Not only is left-behind feces unsightly, it’s also poses health hazards.

These ordinances are in place to protect people and property. Perhaps increased enforcement of the ordinances is needed, even though we’d rather see our police officers working to stop the flow of drugs in the community or prevent crimes such as robbery, assault and murder.

Perhaps imposing $50 fines on some violators would help solve the problem. By the way, each time an owner does not clean up after his or her dog, that’s a separate violation — and $50 fine. Perhaps a week or two of increased enforcement of these ordinances is in order and necessary to send a message to violators.

We urge any such violators out there to clean up their acts — and after their dogs.