The city has been scooping up fewer dog poop outlaws.
A year after jacking up the fines for dog owners who don’t pick up after their pets, the city was handing out almost half as many tickets, even as complaints continued to rise.
In November 2008, the fine for not curbing a dog shot up to $250 from $100to deter irresponsible pet owners from turning the sidewalks into minefields of poop.
In fiscal year 2009, the Department of Sanitation issued 580 fines, down from 903 the previous year. The higher fines were in effect eight of those 12 months.
While some speculate the threat of higher penalties have discouraged dog walkers from breaking the law, others say they see no change.
A spokesman for the Department of Sanitation, which enforces the law, would not say whether the agency believes the higher fines have been a deterrent.
The spokesman, Matthew Lipani, said there are 24 officers assigned to the K-9 unit, which also monitors for dogs off the leash and related violations. There hasn’t been a reduction in manpower since the fines went up.
“This summons is among the most difficult for the department to write, since our enforcement agents must see the dog owner walk away from their dog’s waste,” Lipani said.
The city has collected more money from these fines – the penalty went up from $50 to $100 on Dec. 31, 2007 – each of the last three years.