City considers $150 fine for people who don't clean up after their dog

City considers $150 fine for people who don't clean up after their dog
A dog, er, handles its business in Laurelhurst Park on Tuesday. Under a proposed ordinance, pet owners could be fined $150 for not cleaning up after their animals.

PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland Parks and Recreation wants more power to stop people who don’t pick up after their dog.

Parks officials say they get more complaints about scooping and leash violations than any other type of illegal activity in city parks. To help cut down on people who don’t scoop dog poop, they want the ability to fine violators $150.

“Anybody who ever stepped in dog poop knows that nothing can ruin your day faster than stepping in a great big pile of dog poop,” said Ali Ryan, who runs the off-leash dog program for Portland Parks and Recreation.

Portland has a network of dog-friendly and off-leash areas. Parks officials wrote to city commissioners that despite their best efforts, a “culture of non-compliance” with existing scoop and leash laws still exists throughout the parks system.

Under current law, rangers can give out warnings or kick people out of parks for not scooping dog waste.

Parks officials say that isn’t enough; they also want the power to give out fines when people leave dog waste behind.

Under the proposal, park rangers could also issue a $150 fine for people who violate leash laws.

City commissioners will consider the proposed ordinance during a public meeting on Tuesday.

In addition to helping control the scooping problem, parks officials say giving out fines will also raise revenue for the parks department. Ryan stressed through that the goal was not to make money, but to give the city a more efficient way to enforce the law.

“We feel like a citation is a way more efficient citation too,” she said.

Still, city staffers expect citation revenue will initially bring in $130,000 a year and that it will cost them $100,000 to administer the program. That includes part-time, seasonal park rangers.

Under the proposal, any money raised by fines will be put into the Portland Parks and Recreation general operating fund.

A contract with the county animal services agency to enforce scooping laws was recently cut because of budget concerns.

Do you support a fine for people who don’t scoop their dog’s waste? Let us know in the comments below or weigh in on Facebook.