Video of Dog Poop Scofflaw Sparks Ft. Greene Shame Campaign

By Janet Upadhye on August 11, 2014 11:55am 

dog poop candid camera
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The South Oxford Street Block Association

FORT GREENE — Smile! You're on canine candid camera.

South Oxford Street residents have launched a "Dog Walkers Hall of Shame" campaign in attempt to curb rampant dog poop on their sidewalks — by photographing or videotaping owners who don't clean up after their pets and posting the evidence online.

The South Oxford Street Block Association president Abby Weissman started the campaign on July 30 after catching a cavalier caretaker blatantly walking away from her dog's poop on the sidewalk outside of his building.

The image of the woman, from a video that showed her talking on her cell phone at the time, but stopped to look both ways on the street before walking away and leaving the mess, sparked outrage in the neighborhood which borders Fort Greene Park.

Residents are asking anyone who sees someone leaving dog poop to take a picture or video of the scofflaw and post in on their Facebook page. The group has also posted signs in the neighborhood with an image of the woman taken from the video asking dog owners to "Clean up after your dog."

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Dog walkers are required to pick up after their pets in public places by a New York City law, called the “pooper-scooper” law, which took effect in 1978 and violations can warrant a $250 fine.

Since 2013, 63 "pooper scooper" violations have been issued in Brooklyn. An officer must witness the incident first-hand in order to issue a summons, according to the Department of Sanitation.

Peter Vitakis, who has lived in Fort Greene for four decades, said the problem has gotten worse in recent years since Fort Greene Park's transformation into a "dog mecca."

"The park has gone to the dogs," he said. "I think that some dog owners are very negligent and it happens more often than I would like for it to."

South Oxford Street and South Portland Avenue lead to the park.

In July and August there were no complaints logged with 311 about dog excrement in Fort Greene.

Homeowners and locals say the problem isn't just about the unsightly, unsanitary waste. Under the city code law, homeowners are responsible for cleaning up animal waste on the sidewalks in front of their homes — whether or not they're responsible for it appearing there in the first place.

Vitakis said he has had to clean dog poop from the sidewalk in front of his home approximately a dozen times over the years.

And Weissman, who says he has to clean up dog poop "all the time," is fed up.

"For years block residents have been loudly complaining about people who think they are exempt from having to clean up after their dogs," he said. "There are no excuses for this behavior."

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