Letters to the Editor, Sept. 22

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Sidewalks (better) get a lot clearer soon

On September 13, the Board of Health met and passed the following with respect to Health Code 161.03 which bears on dog waste on sidewalks and other public places:

Ҥ161.03 Control of dogs and other animals to prevent nuisance.

(a) A person who owns, possesses or controls a dog, cat or other animal shall not permit the animal to commit a nuisance on a sidewalk of any public place, on a floor, wall, stairway, sidewalk, lawn, garden or roof of any public or private premises used in common by the public, or on a fence, wall [or], stairway or entranceway of a building abutting on a public place.”

I’m told this statement of the regulation will go into effect around October 21.

The new statement makes clear that 161.03 applies to both public and private property.  This means that dog owners in STPCV would have to abide by the same rules by which other dog owners in the city are charged to abide. That is, dogs must be curbed, the waste picked up and discarded.

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Letters to the Editor, Mar. 31

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Suggestion for keeping STPCV paths clear

About the dogs, I would just like to put the following out for consideration.

NYC Health code 161.03 specifies: “A person who owns, possesses or controls a dog, cat or other animal shall not permit the animal to commit a nuisance on a sidewalk of any public place, on a floor, wall, stairway or roof of any public or private premises used in common by the public, or on a fence, wall or stairway of a building abutting on a public place.”

Whether or not the sidewalks of STPCV are deemed public or private, the reason this law is relevant is that we have very dense populations here of both people and dogs (perhaps the most dense in the city), and we have a lot of toddlers here who play and fall on these sidewalks all the time. These small children are the most important factor of all.

Even if dog owners clean up the messes, does that really matter so far as children’s health is concerned? There is residual fecal matter in all cases and in some cases, effective “picking up” is impossible especially if the dog is sick.

Just as in the rest of the city, dogs should not be allowed to defecate on our sidewalks. There’s actually more reason for this law to apply here than in the rest of the city.

In lieu of phasing out dogs here entirely, I’ll offer the following possible solution.

Today as I walked from the Oval toward 18th Street, I saw a couple with its dog doing its business off the sidewalk in a small, open mulched area. The dog finished, they picked up.  Fine.  Not on the sidewalk, totally within the law.

There is a small mulched area near the flagpole at 22nd Street where I’ve seen a man bring his dog. He stays on the mulch, stays off the grass, picks up afterward. Seems totally within the law.  Again, nothing done on the sidewalk.

Seems to me given appropriate limitations, a little intelligent planning and intelligent application of effort, small mulched areas could be set up around the buildings and used for the dogs to relieve themselves, and that would help. I’m not talking about dog runs. Just talking about small mulched areas where dogs could do their thing, owners pick up and then go on with their walks.

Of course, there would also have to be a cap on the number of dogs allowed here.  Past a certain point under any circumstances, the problem becomes totally unhealthy and unmanageable.

Any fines management decides to impose would also need to be enforced with respect to dog owners who refuse to cooperate. Accidents happen so fines would be limited to those who don’t clean up afterward (in accordance with NYS Heath Code 1310).

Barry Shapiro, PCV

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