GERI HELMINIAK: Dog owners should be responsible, clean up after them

TO THE EDITOR:

I love dogs. I’ve had a dog since I was old enough to bring one home. Part of the responsibility of owning a dog is cleaning up after it.

Due to the location of my living room windows, I watch all year as people bring their dogs to the soccer fields at the end of Washington Street to run and play. That’s great. It’s a great way for them to exercise.

Once those legs get moving however, other things get moving as well! Seldom, if ever, do I see the owner clean it up. Remember who those fields are intended for — your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, friends. I seriously doubt you would want those young people playing in a field of dog excrement. This includes the perimeter as well. Nor should the cleanup lie with the field maintenance people. The responsibility lies squarely with the owner of the dog.

In fact, the Manistee City ordinance chapter 606 Animals 606.4 clearly states, “No owner or person having custody of any dog, cat or other animal shall permit such dog, cat or other domestic animal to defecate on any school grounds, public street, alley, sidewalk, tree, lawn, park, or other public grounds or private property in the City, other than on the premises or such owner or person, unless such defecation is removed immediately.”

Any violation is considered a municipal infraction. Besides the threat of a ticket, please, please think about the kids. It’s not that hard. Keep a supply of those plastic grocery bags we all have too many of in your car, pocket or whatever works.

Put your hand inside he bag, pick up the pile, turn the bag over your hand, tie a knot and put it in the trash!

I’m asking anyone who has ever let their dog loose in this field, or any other park for that matter, to not only clean up after your own dog the next time but pick up anything else you find as well. Now, before it becomes a moldy mess with the spring thaw and rains.

Sound awful? What’s awful is that people have to be told to do it. Imagine your children playing in it.

Geri Helminiak

Manistee

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