We all know that cities will fine people for not cleaning up after their dog’s waste in public. But how about fines for dogs urinating in public?
In Northampton, Massachusetts, one local dog owner, Alan L. Scheinman, said the Board of Health was threatening to set a fine of up to $1,000 for owners of dogs that urinate in public.
It all started last month when Scheinman was called before the board to answer for his rottweiler Tanya’s bathroom etiquette. Scheinman walks Tanya and Moose, Scheinman’s other rottweiler, on and around the sidewalk in front of his house to take care of business.
A clerk from the store next door brought up an issue with Scheinman and his dogs urinating on the sidewalk to the board.
Scheinman explained that since he lives downtown, he does not have a convenient access to parks. He cleans up after his dogs, but the dog owner said that he doesn’t have any control over where his dogs urinate.
He also said he frequently puts Nature’s Miracle solution on their urine to neutralize the odor. One board member suggested that Scheinman use the enzyme and let the situation go, but the chairwoman of the Board of Health wanted to schedule a site visit.
Currently, there is not city bylaw that deals with dogs urinating in public, but at the hearing, a health agent cited a state law that allows health boards to fine people for public health “nuisances.”
Scheinman spread the word about the board’s proposed measure of fining owners for dogs urinating by sending postcards to all 1,945 registered dog owners in the city. He urged them to attend the Board of Health meeting that was scheduled for this Thursday that was supposedly set to talk about this issue.
Dog owners in the city were furious and called the board. The office received 50 phone calls from last Friday until this Tuesday. The board decided to cancel the meeting because they said that Scheinman’s postcards caused confusion about the meeting.
According to Health Agent Ernest Mathieu, the board never had the intention of establishing a fine for dogs urinating, but they wanted Scheinman to curb his dogs.
“We’re working with Mr. Scheinman to change his behavior and his dogs’ behavior in the best interests of the merchants, pedestrians and shoppers who are subjected to walking through it and tracking it into stores,” he said.
Even the idea of a law in regards to dog urination caused dog owners to be up in arms. A city councilmen said that the Board of Health should focus their effort on horses instead of dogs. He said the city is going crazy.
One woman went to the Health Department to get a copy of the “no pee” law but she was told that there was none. She said it was just all ridiculous.
“Northampton’s the only city in the country to see fit to prohibit creatures from peeing in the world,” she said.
Dog owners in Northampton also ask how does the board expect them to clean and “pick up” after the dog’s urine. Other said if the laws go for dogs, then they should go for squirrels and raccoons too. Although we’re not sure who would be willing to pay their fine.
Perhaps it’s time to start potty training the dog.
Source: The Republican