CALUMET CITY | Fifth Ward Alderman Roger Munda said he wants his City Council colleagues to consider toughening city ordinances regulating pet waste.
Munda said during Thursday’s City Council meeting he has received many complaints from his constituents who claim they often find excrement from dogs on or near their property.
He said the problem is from pet owners who let their animals do their business in empty lots and make no attempt to clean up the mess. He also said one aspect of the problem is from people who take their pets for walks in alleyways, thinking that takes the waste away from the public.
But it doesn’t, Munda said.
“People go outside to throw out their garbage and they wind up stepping in the waste, then tracking it back inside their homes,” Munda said. “That’s disgusting.”
Munda said he has read the city ordinances that regulate waste. He says the problem is the ordinances are vague.
They call for $50 fines for people who do not clean up their pet’s waste. But they don’t specify how it should be cleaned up. Munda said pet owners should have to carry plastic bags with them when they walk their pets so they can immediately clean up any waste.
The ordinances also require police officers to catch people in the act of letting their pets dump waste on someone else’s property.
“It’s practically unenforceable,” Munda said. “We don’t exactly have a large number of officers who can be spared for the exclusive duty of watching pet owners to catch them.”
The alderman said he thinks it might be feasible to increase the fine, saying many people just shrug off the notion of a $50 fine, if they don’t try to claim the pet waste was left by someone else’s animal and not their own.
Munda suggested a $100 fine might be more realistic, but said he was willing to listen to colleagues and officials from the city’s Animal Control department to see what thoughts they have about the issue before he would commit to any specific figure.
But he definitely wants to move forward on this issue in coming weeks.
“The smell alone is terrible, plus children play outside and step in it,” Munda said. “Nobody wants to have to deal with someone else’s dog doing its business right outside their front door.”