Bayonne council to increase fines to curb pet waste

The fine for not cleaning pet waste would increase to a max of $1,250

Bayonne is considering a measure to target a deluge of unattended pet waste across the city.

The City Council has introduced an ordinance amending the general ordinances of the city relating to animal control, specifically the section regarding the removal of pet waste and the accompanying fines and penalties. The council voted unanimously to further the measure at its July 20 meeting.

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Prior to the ordinance introduction, resident Rosemarie Bond spoke on the issue. The pet waste has been rampant not only on sidewalks and lawns but also in parks, such as the one in her neighborhood: Halecky-IMTT Park between the cul-de-sacs on Avenue F and Route 440.

“Can you address the dog sh*t everywhere?” Bond said. “They have destroyed Halecky Park.” 

In response, City Council President Gary La Pelusa noted the city was looking to address the issue at that very meeting.

“We actually have something on tonight,” La Pelusa said. 

Bond was happy to hear the council was looking to tackle the issue. She noted that current signage has not been enough to deter pet owners, and that she had been talking with Department of Public Works Director Tom Cotter and Second Ward City Councilwoman Jacqueline Weimmer to address the issue.

“I have bothered that man and Jackie a hundred million times,” Bond said. “There are five or six or seven signs up. Nobody cares. They stick the dog underneath the gate and then the dog [goes].”

Increasing fines for violations

According to the ordinance, it is the duty of any person who owns a pet to have the means with [them] to “remove any feces left by the pet on any gutter, street or public area, and to dispose of same in a sanitary manner.” However, this is not applicable to a guide dog accompanying a blind person.

Currently, summons may be issued by a member of the Police Department or a Sanitary Inspector employed by the city. The ordinance proposes that a summons, which would also now include a notice of violation of any provision of the existing animal control ordinance pertaining to pet waste, is cause for an enforcement document to be issued by the Police Department.

The ordinance adds that the Animal Control Officer, Litter Inspector, Park Enforcement Officers, or any municipal officials designated or authorized by either the Department of Public Works, the Director of Municipal Services, the Director of Public Safety, or the Health Officer, would also be able to issue enforcement documents to a violator of the ordinance. However, the ordinance would no longer includes a Sanitary Inspector as an enforcer of the measure.

In addition, the maximum penalty for a violation of the ordinance would be raised. Previously capped at $50, the new fine would be no more than $1,250. The penalty also includes imprisonment for a period not exceeding 10 days, according to the ordinance. 

The minimum fine would be increased from the previously established amount of $25. The new minimum would be set at $100.

In addition to fines for not cleaning up pet waste, the city also installed some pet waste stations several years ago to encourage cleanup. Additionally, the Bayonne Health Department currently distributes signs for residents facing pet waste issues to put on their lawns.

The aforementioned ordinance will be up for a public hearing and vote at the next council meeting in August. The council will meet on August 17 at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall at 630 Avenue C. For more information, go to bayonnenj.org.

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.

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