Town law tries to put cork in pooch poop buildup

"It's now official. Walk away from the leavings your dog leaves in Coupeville's public paths and parks - and you'll be walking on the wrong side of the law.So says Coupeville Ordinance 598, which was passed unanimously at the Coupeville Town Council meeting Tuesday. Among other things the ordinance covers: A dog owner or handler who fails to remove and properly dispose of the animal's fecal matter when accompanied by said animal on public property or public easement.''Breaking the ordinance isn't likely to land anyone in jail - it's a Class III civil infraction, punishable by a $50 fine.Imposing punishment isn't really the point of the ordinance anyway, Coupeville mayor Nancy Conard said. It's about raising awareness.Abandoned dog poop is a problem for some of the town's residents, Conard said, who have called Town Hall to complain.While some of Coupeville's dog owners apparently don't care what their pooches leave behind in Capt. Coupe Park and on its waterfront pathways, more than a few walkers do - especially those who unwittingly step into the leavings.To help raise awareness, Conard said the town plans to provide discreet signs along the pathways and in Capt. Coupe Park and, possibly, add litter barrels and plastic bag dispeners as well.One part of the ordinance did not survive the council meeting.Councilwoman Donna Keeler proposed striking a seemingly Draconian section that mandated punishing: A dog owner or handler who fails to have in their possession the equipment necessary to remove and properly dispose of the animal's fecal matter when accompanied by said animal ...The rest of the council agreed; they didn't want to require local police to search pet walkers for plastic bags. Coupeville resident Jack McPherson had his own ideas about the ordinance when he spoke up earlier in the meeting.I don't think it will do a darn bit of good, McPherson said. The problem is irresponsible people who let their dogs run loose ... We're a small town; maybe we ought to ease up a bit. "

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