NEW YORK CITY — One man's dog poop is another man's gold.
The city could launch a lucrative crackdown on violations of its "pooper scooper law" — if Mayor Bill de Blasio follows up on a promise made Friday morning on WNYC's "Brian Lehrer Show" to censure scofflaw dog owners.
"If people are getting sloppy again and being unfair to their neighbors, we may have to create a culture consequence again," the mayor said during his weekly segment on the radio show, responding to a caller's "helpful suggestion."
"There’s an epidemic of dog waste on our sidewalks, and I believe that you can request your parking officers who are out there already on the street ... [to] issue summons," proposed Maria of Williamsburg, the "less tonier part" of the city, in her words.
"Walking has become a course of dodging dog waste minefields, and this is a win-win for the city, a win-win for New yorkers’ health who carry dog waste on their shoes into their homes, and a win for small children who are not allowed to walk freely on our sidewalks," said Maria, who described the ticketing potential of scofflaw dog owners as "gold for the city."
Too many dog owners are failing to clean up after their pooches, the mayor agreed. The offense violates the 1978 "pooper scooper" law and carries a $250 fine.
"It’s really insensitive and unfair to other New Yorkers, and I’d say to people: if you’re not going to bother to clean up after your dog, don’t bother to have a dog," de Blasio said.
While Maria's enforcement proposal had a "lot of merit," he continued, he wasn't sure whether the responsibility should fall to traffic agents or other city officials.
“Your point is well taken: that we have to look at new ways of creating consequences for folks who do something that’s unfair to their neighbors and unhealthy for everyone involved. I will figure out a way we can address that better," de Blasio pledged, praising the efforts of former Mayor Ed Koch to rectify the issue in the 1970s.
Whether he likes it or not, Koch is remembered as advocating for, signing and enforcing the Canine Waste Law as one of several steps his office took toward the city's urban renewal.