OAKLAND — The town council wants to hear from the public before making a decision on a proposed ordinance that would require dog owners to clean up after their pets on public property.

Councilors briefly discussed the proposal at their meeting Wednesday, but held off moving forward until they receive more public input on the idea.

“You’re getting pretty near and dear to people’s hearts when you talk about what they have to do when they walk their dogs,” said Councilor Dana Wrigley, explaining his interest in getting public feedback about the idea.

Town Manager Gary Bowman said a resident of Water Street requested the town consider an ordinance after seeing dog waste on public property in town.

The resident cited waste left on sidewalks as a particular issue, Bowman said. Oakland has an animal control ordinance, but it does not require dog owners to clean up their animal’s waste.

Neighboring Waterville has an ordinance that requires owners to immediately remove and dispose of feces left by their dog on streets, sidewalks and other public property as well as private property of others. Under the Waterville regulations, a fine for a first offense of the ordinance is $50 and $100 for subsequent offenses.

Most town ordinances that cover pet waste are fairly simple, and it would be easy to draft one for Oakland, Bowman told the council, but he doubted if the new rules would be enforceable.

There would be almost no way to investigate a violation of the ordinance unless it was seen firsthand by police, Bowman said.

“You would have a hard time getting our police officers to buy into that,” he told the council.

If an ordinance was enacted, the town could distribute copies to dog owners every year when they registered their pets, Bowman said.

Councilor Don Borman acknowledged that enforcing the ordinance might be difficult, but “knowing there is an ordinance goes some way to changing behavior.”

Councilors expect to discuss the ordinance further at their Wednesday, April 22, meeting.

Peter McGuire — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @PeteL_McGuire


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