Borough officials: Scoop up what's left behind
KITTANNING -- The pleasant fragrances of spring aren't the only odor wafting in the air these days.
According to Kittanning Police Chief Ed Cassesse the onset of warmer weather means that some areas of the borough are plagued with the sickening stench of dog feces.
Cassesse said his department has received more than two dozen complaints from residents about dog feces.
"People are complaining about dog droppings in Riverfront Park, Community Park, the Kittanning Trail and even their next door neighbor's yards," Cassesse said. "With the warmer weather these messes make a horrific smell and if you're walking along the trail or in one of the parks, you had better watch where you step."
Kittanning Dog Officer Tim Ours added that no one should be walking dogs or cats in any of the borough's parks.
"It is against borough ordinances to walk pets in Riverfront Park or Community Park," Ours said.
Due to the volume of recent complaints Ours said he will be teaming up with Kittanning police and Codes Enforcement officer Rick McMillen to respond to complaints of dog littering and he will begin routine patrols of the parks and the trail.
"Patrolling is about the only way to catch dog law offenders," he said. "If I get a complaint about someone not picking up after their dog by the time I arrive on the scene they are usually gone.
However, Ours said if the complainant knows who the people involved are, he will contact the Kittanning police.
Ours said first-time offenders can expect to pay some hefty fines. He said the fine for having any pet in any of Kittanning's parks is $15. Having unlicensed dogs or walking dogs off a leash are each a $25 fine. Not having rabies vaccination tags for dogs or outside house cats is also a $25 fine.
Both Cassesse and Ours said that up until now only warnings have been issued for dog law violations.
"We've had a lot of complaints so we're not going to be nice guys anymore," Ours said. "That means from now on we will issue citations rather than warnings."
McMillen said that typical first-offense fines for dog owners who do not pick up after their pets range from $25 to $50 per violation. Repeat offenders may pay up to $300.
"All you have to do is keep your pets out of the parks and pick up their messes," Cassesse said.
McMillen said dog owners may also be cited for not cleaning up dog feces in their yards. He said Borough Ordinance 417 requires property owners who may have pets to keep their yards clean of pet droppings.