Who will enforce Saugerties’ “Pooper Scooper” law?

Judy Townsend

Judy Townsend

Main and Partition street business owners, and a number of village residents are fed up with dog owners and dog walkers that do not clean up after their dogs have done their business.

Unsure of how to go about solving the problem of dog messes along the sidewalks in the business district and throughout the village, business owners and residents have taken to posting signs telling dog owners to Clean It Up.

A Washington Street homeowner has gone so far as to put up about 20 signs telling dog owners not to let their pet, poop or pee on her property.


Revolution Bike Shop on Main Street has also posted a sign.

And while residents and business owners are unsure of how to get a so-called ‘Pooper Scooper’ law enforced, even those in charge don’t know who’s in charge.

Eyal Saad, the village code enforcement officer said enforcing village code 66-3 is not in his purview.

The Town of Saugerties’ two dog wardens said enforcement is not part of their job either. One said when there was a village police department they would enforce the law, but when the village and town police departments merged enforcement of the ‘Pooper Scooper’ law seemed to fall by the wayside.

Several calls to the Town of Saugerties Police Department trying to find out if they would be the Not my job… Who will enforce Saugerties’ ‘Pooper Scooper’ law? ones to cite the negligent canine owners were not returned.

Village code 66-3 reads in part – “No owner shall suffer, allow or permit any dog to soil, defecate or deposit any droppings or fecal matter on any public road, street, highway or sidewalk or area adjacent thereto or upon any public grounds or parks or property …”

It goes on to say that the person with the dog should make a good faith effort to clean up after the dog.

The code calls failing to do so a “public nuisance detrimental to public health.”

Fine for a first offense is $250, $350 for a second offense, and $500 for a third offense with a possible stay in the Ulster County jail of up to 15 days.

Judy Townsend and her husband, Dennis Buckley live in a nicely tended home on Washington Avenue. It’s easy to spot their home, not because of how nice the property and home are maintained but by the number of signs that run the length of their property telling dog walkers not to let their animal pee or poop on the property and if it does poop to clean it up. Townsend has gone so far as to attach a plastic bag to one of the signs for a dog walker’s use.

“We have children playing here,” Townsend says pointing to two dead trees on her side yard that are decorated with paper butterflies.

She said the two trees died two winters ago, and recently a group of three-year olds from the Mother Goose Nursery School at the Saugerties United Methodist Church was walking by while she was cleaning up after a dog, and she said to the children “isn’t it a shame the trees have no leaves.”

The children and their teacher immediately volunteered to make paper butterflies enclosed in plastic to protect them from the rain and hung them from the tree.

Upon learning of the three-year olds’ project, the class of four-year olds said they’d like to decorate the other tree and now the two dead trees are alive with colorful paper butterflies. And about 20 signs telling dog walkers to clean up after their charges.

Townsend said that since she’s put up the signs she has noticed a difference in the amount of dog poop on her sidewalk and in her yard. “It’s gone down.”

Now if other dog walkers throughout the village would only do the same thing, she says.