Cimino says citizens could be trained to enforce poop-scoop bylaws
This week, a Sudbury politician suggested a novel way to enforce the poop and scoop laws: deputizing private citizens to issue tickets to violators for breaking the city bylaw requiring owners to scoop the poop.
Ward 1 Coun. Joe Cimino said the problem is bad at sports fields in his area, citing Delki Dozzi, Robinson Playground and Queen's Athletic Field as hotspots.
“I am a dog lover, but am getting a lot of calls, and I know staff and other councillors are, too, in terms of dogs off leashes … as well as owners not picking up after their dogs,” Cimino said Tuesday at city council. “I know our parks staff do an incredible job — but it's a very costly job — in terms of picking up the remnants from the winter, and the continued remnants in the spring and summer.”
“But it's to the point that kids are actually playing in it — well, not playing in it, but falling in it. So it's a health and safety issue.”
While signs are posted in parks and fields letting people know they have to clean up, current rules for bylaw enforcement in Sudbury are complaint driven, meaning city staff only responds to calls from the public about a violation.
“But by the time a resident calls in, the person is long gone,” Cimino said. “So the question that came from a resident ... and I think it's a great way to save money, is can we — and I'm not sure if it's the word deputize — for example, a playground association executive, to hand out tickets if they see an infraction happening?
“Of course, it wouldn't be a vigilante-type thing. But they could go up and warn the folks that the bylaw is being broken and educate them, and maybe have the authority to maybe enforce the bylaw.”
There is a precedent, he said, pointing to the owners of private parking lots who can deputize their staff to hand out tickets to people who park without paying.
“Can we do that? I know we do that for the owners of private parking lots.”
Guido Mazza, the city's director of building services, said the two cases aren't exactly the same. For one thing, parking lot owners usually contract the work out to private enforcement companies, who are then trained by the city. For Cimino's suggestion, private citizens would have to be trained first.
“We could probably look at it,” Mazza said. “But I would have to do a bit more research on that in terms of private citizens.”
Under the city's animal control bylaw, a fine of up to $5,000 could be levied to anyone who fails to stoop and scoop after your pet does its business.