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Who’s dumping on whom?

There’s a hefty penalty to be paid if your dog takes an uncollected dump on this fair city.

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.


Comment from tsg
Time March 25, 2009 at 8:15 am

Before reading your post this morning and after being aware that a fine will soon be attached to unscooped poop offenders – I had been thinking of posting flyers on the posts between home and the park reminding pet owners of their responsibilities. A) It’s a health risk for dogs and poeple when the sidewalks are littered w/ abandon pooh piles B) For non-dog owners, it’s further support & justification that strict fines should be enstated C) It dilutes the efforts of neighborhood improvement organizations and the value of properties for sale in these (mine) soiled sidewalk communities D) It sucks when accidently stepping into my own dogs eliminations much less a that of a mystery dog pile.

Comment from bluhawkk
Time March 25, 2009 at 1:10 pm

Your mayor has a big budget deficit. How else is she going to cover it?

“Mayor Sheila Dixon vowed Wednesday to “create a real change in the way Baltimore works” while unveiling her strategy to close a $65 million budget deficit the city faces in fiscal 2010.”


ps…..let us know that “real change” she is proposing beyond shelters filling up with unwanted dogs who pooped at the wrong time, wrong place.

Comment from Anne-n-Spencer
Time March 25, 2009 at 4:52 pm

We need those bumper stickers. It was a bad fall and winter, family-wise, but I’ll see if I can get back on it.

Comment from sallyurie@comcast.net
Time March 26, 2009 at 1:06 pm

you guys need to start using our poop bag holders that attach to your leash. go to disguisedesign.com next week and order yourself one. do your dog and your neighbors a favor…chow.

Comment from LHFixer
Time April 7, 2009 at 12:36 pm

Fine or no fine. I don’t see this law stopping someone who is willing to let their dog crap on the sidewalks in their neighborhood. I can’t imagine seeing a policeman stop to watch if they clean it up. These are the same people who double park in front of open parking spots, put their trash out two days in advance and let their car alarm go off for 45 minutes. I would be angry to step in it, but happy to get it on my hands when I rub it in their hair.