The Scoop On Poop: Fines Escalate To $1,000 Max

When NYC’s first pooper-scooper fines were established in 1978 by the Parks Department, they were set between $50-$100. In 2009, fines were raised to $250—and earlier this year, to $500. Now, signs have appeared on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade setting a new max of $1,000.

For the sake of context, a Class B misdemeanor—like selling pot or public lewdness—carries a maximum fine of $500, and a Class A misdemeanor—like ducking out on child support or rioting—maxes at $1,000. The steepest parking fine in New York City is $115.

Of course, this issue has been bandied about time and again on BHB, with some commenters insisting that failure to obey pooper scooper ordinances should be punishable by death—for pooch and owner. Neighborhood tidiness is something everyone can agree on but is $1,000 so extreme that it will not be taken seriously by those who would neglect their civic duty?

As the owner of two dogs, your correspondent obeys the ordinance without fail—out of respect for all of us walking around the nabe.

But maybe there’s a better use of the city’s resources in the War Against Poop.

Back in July, Citizen’s Committee for New York City CEO Peter Kostmayer proposed that the estimated 145,000 tons of dog waste generated in the five boroughs each year from the city’s 1.4 million dogs could be used to light homes and to create fertilizer for city parks. Now we’re talking!

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  • David

    If you clean up the poop, you don’t pay the fine…

  • Heightsman

    Now just empower the traffic cops to enforce it. They are a vigilant bunch when it comes to cars! I love it!

  • Homer Fink

    Yes I really enjoyed the two tickets I got for the same “violation” – my “expired” registration. The NEW registration ON THE WINDSHIELD.

  • Mary

    I think a responsible dog owner would clean up after their dog. I clean up behind my dog because dog feces carry GERMS!!! But a better use for the poop can be found, I am all for it!!!

  • Wiley E.

    Why aren’t poop fines collected?

  • WillowNabe

    I have lived here for six years and have never once seen anyone who enforced the pooper scooper laws. What does it matter how much the fine goes up to if it is not enforced?

  • Gerry

    I have never seen the pooper scooper law enforced.

    @ Homer – your registration expired and you got a ticket?

  • Joe

    I’m all for this if it can be enforced and the green side of me would love for it to be recycled in some way to benefit the neighborhood.

    Pierrepont place across the street from the playground has a lot of poop in baggies (I guess this is a tad better than being left on the sidewalk) and they are literally a few feet away from a garbage can. I don’t get why you go through the trouble of bagging it up and then not throwing it away.

  • Mr. Crusty

    “I have never seen the pooper scooper law enforced.”

    Evidence collection seems be the drawback.

  • GHB

    @Joe, those loads you see are from a seeing eye dog. At least the owner bags it.

  • km

    A blind person recently on the corner of Joralemon and Henry carefully picked up her seeing eye dog poop, but when she went to put it in the trash she had to ask me where the trash can was – because someone had moved them, yet again.

  • Jorale-man

    Two thoughts:
    Enforcement is the real question here. There are also signs in our neighborhood that say $300 fine for horn honking. I’d love to see those enforced but I realize they never have been and never will be.

    Also, it would also be nice to see the focus on dog poop extended to trash in general. I’ve said this here before. The promenade in the summertime often becomes a giant pigpen, with all kinds of litter. As we all wish to make the neighborhood a great place to live, that should be a continuing focus.

  • malanga es malanga

    Without a hint of enforcement, the fine could be $100,000, and it would still fail to, um, curb the behavior.

    Now, if we can only get the dog owners who go to Cadman Plaza for leash-free hours to keep their dogs off of the artificial turf surface, and to not leave deposits there.

  • Ernie

    One error (of many) that legislators and government officials make is that high fines stop behavior whether its owners not cleaning up their dog’s poop, horn blowing or bike riders going the wrong way on a one-way street through red lights. It doesn’t and often those actually fined feel like victims, as the size of fines often have no relationship to the “offense.” Perhaps the City should try reasonable fines with aggressive enforcement. If, for example, a driver actually believed they would be fined $25 for blowing their horn in front of a police office 2 seconds after a red light turned green, they wouldn’t.

  • Eddyenergizer

    The reason the city raised the fine to $1,000 is because there is no realistic way to enforce the law. A police officer must witness the violation first hand, given that there are few if any foot patrols and most cops cruse around in cars or the “cop-in-a-box” scooters, it is highly unlikely they would ever witness a actual “rogue deposit”. Fear of a heavy fine is the only way to get irresponsible dog escorts to follow the law.

    The bags of pooh scattered around the trash cans is most likely from “can redeemers” that throw the trash on the ground in search of their prize.

  • chicagokath314

    Go to this site and submit a complaint about a specific street. I think they send extra officers out to catch non-compliant dog walkers in the act. It worked really well when I complained about a block of West 169th St in Manhattan. I even noticed an improvement in surrounding streets in the neighborhood.

  • j

    I think it’s a little absurd. I’m 99.9% compliant. I use the “bags on board” roll of 20 so that I have multiple bags available to me at all times. However, in the event that my dog may have an unexpected triple whammy and the roll runs out, I have to either find another dog walker nearby and ask for a spare bag or go into a store and ask for a plastic bag. If I were caught “walking away” and couldn’t prove my intent to come back, I would reluctantly accept a $50 or $100 fine. But $1000 does not fit the crime.