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City's Pooper Scooper Law Could Soon Include Private Sidewalks

 Julie Marshall stands near the Stuy Town Oval with her dog Georgie Girl.
Julie Marshall stands near the Stuy Town Oval with her dog Georgie Girl.
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DNAinfo/Noah Hurowitz

NEW YORK CITY — The city plans to close a loophole in its “pooper scooper” law that some say allowed negligent dog owners to avoid fines if they failed to clean up after their pooch in private common spaces — namely huge complexes like Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village.

The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has introduced an amendment that would close a loophole in the city Health Code by making it a violation for dog owners to allow their pets to “make a nuisance” — fail to pick up after them — on privately-owned sidewalks, lawns and gardens that are used by the public. 

That includes housing complexes like Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village, where property rules already require cleaning up after your pet, but where the loophole may have made it difficult to actually fine a negligent dog walker the $200 fine a dog owner could get for not cleaning up on a public sidewalk.

Currently, the law prohibits dog owners from letting their dogs relieve themselves on public sidewalks and the hallways, rooftops, and stairwells of public or private common spaces. The amendment would explicitly add public and commonly-used private sidewalks, lawns, and gardens to the list of protected places.

“There was concern from a member of the public that the pooper scooper laws might not apply to privately owned streets and sidewalks,” a Department of Health spokesman said.

Several residents of Stuy Town said they supported the measure, though some added that complexes like Stuy Town and Peter Cooper Village tend to stay fairly clean already thanks to peer pressure and rules set by property owners.

"People who live here are pretty good about it," said Julie Marshall, sitting on a bench on the Stuy Town Oval with her dog Georgie Girl. "It's not that big a deal, just get a plastic bag!"

The DOH will hold a public hearing on Article 161 of the New York City Health Code at its Queens headquarters at Gotham Center, 42-09 28th St., Room 14-43 in Long Island City on July 26, according to a notice.

The hearing will take place from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.