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Dog Poop Fouling Bushwick's Beautification Efforts, Locals Say

By Meredith Hoffman | April 19, 2013 6:57am

BUSHWICK — Every day Luis Ramos tends his community garden and sweeps the nearby Bushwick sidewalks and planters — but no matter how much he cleans up, uncollected dog poop always reappears to destroy his hard work.

"My sister won't even park here, it's so bad," he said of Himrod and Wilson streets, where he's hung city-made "don't be a pooper-trator" fliers that warn pet owners of their responsibilities.

"You step out of your car and you step in dog crap. People tore the fliers down... It's disrespectful. I just want it nice and clean."

Ramos and other proud Bushwick locals claim dog waste has been hijacking their efforts to beautify the up-and-coming neighborhood — and they're fighting to end the problem.

"We want to inundate the community with pooper-trator fliers... I take offense to this," Bushwick Community Board 4's district manager Nadine Whitted said, adding that left-behind dog waste is a "doggone shame."

The chairwoman of the community board's health committee, Mary McClelland, said the waste was a serious concern for children who might get feces on their shoes or bodies before school.

"This is a health problem. The school is right near," she said. "The children don't look where they're going. We don't want to have a dog problem."

Whitted said she had asked the city to step up dog-curbing enforcement, particularly at the six major Bushwick strips where waste is the worst.

The spots included Eldert Street and Knickerbocker Avenue; Cypress Avenue and Suydam Street; Bushwick Avenue and Stanhope Street; Covert Street and Irving Avenue; Himrod Street between Wilson and Central avenues; Cooper Street between Evergreen and Central avenues; and Moffat Street between Wilson and Knickerbocker avenues. 

A spokesman for the Department of Sanitation said the agency would crack down on dog owners at the board's request.

"Our enforcement division will have agents patrol these areas," spokesman Vito Turso said.

But local resident and City Council candidate Antonio Reynoso said enforcement was particularly tough with such an anonymous infringement.

"Dog poop is one of the worst problems...you have to catch people in the act," Reynoso said. "It's about community policing."