Pick it up!
Town to crack down on dog poop
by Al Sullivan
Reporter staff writer
Nov 03, 2013 | 4233 views | 0 0 comments | 107 107 recommendations | email to a friend | print
PICK UP OR GET FINED – Dog walkers are getting fair warning to pick up their pooch’s poop or face fines.
PICK UP OR GET FINED – Dog walkers are getting fair warning to pick up their pooch’s poop or face fines.

Police, parking patrol officers, and park workers will be on the lookout for dog walkers who fail to pick up after their pets, said Councilman James Clancy during the Oct. 22 meeting of the Secaucus Town Council.

“This is a quality of life issue,” he said.

Those who fail to pick up the poop their dogs leave will get a warning, and then summonses, he said.

“A number of dog owners do pick up after their pets,” Clancy said. “But some don’t.”

In conjunction with this, the town will also be enforcing regulations regarding trash, Clancy said, noting that residents are not allowed to put out trash at the curb before 6 p.m. on the night prior to pick up, and that trash must be in a trash receptacle with a lid. Those who violate these rules will also get a warning, after which they will get summonses and fines.

Fines can be up to $2,500 at the discretion of the judge, said Town Administrator David Drumeler. A typical fine would likely be about $250, however.

While the town will expand those able to enforce the pooper scooper laws, Drumeler said, the idea is to put people on notice first, making people aware of the situation. He said most people already comply and there isn’t a part of the town that has a particular problem, but this provides ample warning.
“A number of dog owners do pick up after their pets. But some don’t.” – James Clancy
Poop pickup laws evolved out of legal cases from the early 1970s in which courts ruled that dog poop is a form of environmental pollution no less dangerous and degrading than toxic air pollution.

“Our goal is to raise awareness and to maintain a healthy quality of life in the community,” Drumeler said.

Loitering ordinance to be abolished

The council introduced an ordinance that would do away with its loitering law. Drumeler said this is an out of date concept that has been challenged elsewhere in the Supreme Court dealing with concepts such as right to assemble. In other communities, these ordinances have been found unconstitutional, Drumeler said.

“We have not issued summonses in years,” he said. “This is more of a house cleaning item. The courts say these laws are vague and there are other ways to deal with such situations.”

Clancy helps catch robbers

Mayor Michael Gonnelli credited Clancy with helping to apprehend two suspects in a robbery after Clancy reported seeing two suspicious characters in the 2nd Ward.

Clancy said he and his wife noticed two men in the neighborhood and wrote down the license plate number and then called the police after the two men returned to the area.

Later, a house was broken into and a security camera on a neighbor’s house caught the two on video.

Gonnelli said that as a result, the stolen items were recovered and the men arrested.

“This is an example of ‘If you see something, say something,’ ” Gonnelli said.

“All of us should take a look around when we leave our homes,” Clancy said. “If you see something that is not normal, say something.”

Other issues

The council voted to approve the insertion into the budget of a $2,000 grant from the NJLM Educational Foundation, a sustainable Jersey Small grant Award that will be used to for the community garden located at the end of Humboldt Street, said Clancy.

Gonnelli said the town has put in for a $2.3 million grant from FEMA to help build defenses for flooding in the area of Gail Place and Valley Court, where flooding occurred as a result of Hurricane Sandy last year. But the mayor said unlike other areas where the town was able to build berms to block rising water from the Hackensack River and its tributaries, there is not enough room behind the houses on these streets where yards come right up to the water.

Gonnelli said the town has not yet received FEMA money.

The Town Council also voted to approve appointments for various positions.

Joanne Innis and Adriana Fernandez were appointed to the Secaucus Recreation Center. Innis will work at the front desk, and Fernandez will work as a fitness instructor for yoga classes.

Nicole While was appointed to the Aftercare Center. Jeffrey Voss was appointed as information technology intern in the office of the town administrator. Michael Flaherty was appointed to the position of buildings and grounds custodian.

Al Sullivan may be reached at asullivan@hudsonreporter.com.

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