Who’s dumping on whom?
Unfortunately, there is no such recourse when the city dumps on dog owners.
According to the Baltimore Sun, the City Council in January passed a bill increasing the fines for both unleashed dogs and unscooped poop to $1,000.
That it has taken three months for that news to become public is troubling. That the city hasn’t done more to inform dog owners — if not through the media than by some other means — is even more disturbing. Try to find the rules, much less any information on fines, old or new, on the city’s Animal Control website. I’ll award a free poop bag to the first person who can point it out to me.
Granted, dog owners, on the whole, could show a little more respect to the city. Poop — and I passed a good $50,000 worth of it (under the new law) on my way to the park and back today — should be picked up.
But the city might consider showing a little respect to dog owners, too — one, by not assessing such ridiculously exorbitant fines; two, by possibly making it public that the penalties are increasing tenfold. It’s as if the city has borrowed a chapter from the BGE school of customer service: “Oh, and by the way, valued customer/citizen, your bill this month is $912.”
Animal Control Director Bob Anderson told the Sun that his office hasn’t received the official documents and is still issuing citations that carry penalties in the old amounts. The shift to the new fines, he said, will probably come in a matter of weeks.
As one who religiously scoops poop, but flagrantry violates the leash law — under the belief that dogs gotta run, and a well-behaved dog under voice control shouldn’t require constant leashing — I’d like to know, especially amid the crackdowns that have been going on: Precisely when does letting my dog run free become akin to a felony?
And, given that the city relegates any unchained dog to them, exactly when do those dog parks Mayor Sheila Dixon promised become a reality?
I’d hate to hear that they are among the services the financially strapped city is cutting back on, especially at the same time it’s raking in ten times more money in dog fines.
What the city fathers and mothers fail to realize is that responsible dog owners — we who navigate broken glass and dodge rats on our way to the park, we who sometimes pick up trash left by non-dog owners, we who take part in sprucing up your parks, pay our taxes, cast our votes and, for the most part, follow their laws — don’t particularly relish being treated like … the subject at hand.
And I don’t mean leashes.
Posted by John Woestendiek March 25th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: baltimore, city, city council, commentary, dog parks, dogs, dollar, editorial, feces, fine, fines, law, leash, leash law, mayor, ohmidog!, opinion, parks, penalties, pets, poop, scoop, sheila dixon, thousand, urban, waste