What to do about doggie doo

Staff writer

The Hillsboro City Council discussed at length Tuesday the merits of a dog feces ordinance, possibly with the intent of getting this newspaper to write an article about it.

The council weighed but ultimately decided against an ordinance that would punish dog owners for failing to clean up their dogs’ feces left on property of other residents.

“Let’s do this with a straight face, OK?” city administrator Larry Paine began.

Hillsboro mayor Delores Dalke received a letter asking the council to discuss an ordinance regarding dog feces left in residents’ yards. Council members agreed that the problem should be addressed.

Paine addressed it.

“I went and did a listserv check on other cities that have (ordinances) similar to that,” Paine said. “Most all of them said they’ve got the ordinance, but it’s unenforceable.

“I’ve got a situation in my neighborhood where stuff shows up unexplained,” Paine went on. “We don’t have a dog, but there’s dog poop in the yard. In my case, I get out a shovel and I go dig a hole and throw the dog poop in the hole and forget about it.”

Paine said he spoke before the meeting with councilman Bob Watson about it, and they agreed there were other things they’d rather have police do than to chase down and cite residents for dog-dung-related infractions.

“We need to make it known that it’s not acceptable socially,” councilman Byron McCarty said. “That’s what a law would do anyway.”

Paine pointed to a station in the city park that has a sign reminding residents to clean up after their dogs and a plastic bag dispenser for those who forget to bring plastic bags on walks with them. Council agreed the sign was effective; however, given the multitude of streets upon which residents regularly walk their dogs, purchasing more of the units, priced at around $300, would perhaps be more trouble than it was worth.

Dalke suggested a reminder regarding dog waste be sent with next month’s utility bills.

“In my view, it’s a problem that can be solved by people taking responsibility for their animals,” Paine said.

Eventually the council agreed that an ordinance wouldn’t be effective, and discussed other ways in which they could get the word out.

“Maybe some publicity in the paper,” one councilman suggested.

“You think we could get some?” Paine asked, pointedly.

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