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Sanitation Commissioner Says She Won’t Tolerate Humans Who Let Their Dogs Poop on New York

3:17 PM EDT on May 12, 2022

Who’s a good boy?

Get a load of this.

After two years that city Sanitation officers failed to write a single ticket for violations of the pooper-scooper law, new DSNY Commissioner Jessica Tisch is now vowing a crackdown on humans who leave their animal companions' crap in the street.

"Dog poop. New Yorkers see it everywhere. And it has become a bigger problem over the past two years," Tisch said in testimony to the City Council earlier this week, though this portion of her remarks was not widely reported. "Yet, in 2020 and 2021, a grand total of zero summonses have been written to people who don’t pick up after their pets. That changes now. This is about decency, courtesy, and respect. And the Department of Sanitation won’t tolerate it anymore."

Those words carried the stench of outrage, but it's unclear how many tickets DSNY's 70 cops and 250-odd enforcement agents will write; even in the best years of enforcement against rogue dog owners, only a tiny number of tickets were written for violations of the late-1970s law that carries a $250 fine for not picking up your pup's poop.

DSNY spokesman Joshua Goodman claims the agency has a plan of action.

"We have a series of intersections that have been flagged through 311 calls and direct complaints from activists and electeds, and they will be patrolled," Goodman said. "We want the number of tickets to stay at zero — but because people are complying. We want people to get the message and take care of the problem."

Goodman encouraged New Yorkers to use 311 to report specific rough locations so that Sanitation officers — some in uniform and some, ooh, in plain clothes — could be dispatched to take a bite out of the rogue dog people.

He could not explain why not a single ticket had been issued in the last two years of the de Blasio administration, but pointed out that government has limited enforcement capabilities, plus priorities that shift with public sentiment.

"The important thing is the policy of not enforcing this is changing," he said.

Tisch's testimony on the pooper-scooper law was by no means the only highlight of her first big council hearing. She also highlighted the agency's new narrow bike lane sweepers and its commitment to restarting street sweeping and alternate-side-of-the-street parking on July 5 (both stories were previously reported by Streetsblog). She also committed to fighting the scourge of overflowing litter baskets and of rats. Speaking of rats (but not of long-suffering pedestrians), she also mentioned the Clean Curbs pilot, though she did not mention how small it is.

For the record, Tisch does not live with a dog.

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