HOBOKEN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A New Jersey city is stepping up efforts keep itself clean.
The mayor of Hoboken says city officials are going undercover to make sure dog owners and walkers pick up after their pets after they do their business. As CBS2’s Meg Baker found out Wednesday, the fines can be rough.
Kathleen Chirico had her hands full. The dog walker and trainer was out on her daily pack walk along the waterfront in Hoboken.
“I’ve got my bags. I always have my bags and extra bags. I give out extra bags if I see that people don’t have them,” Chirico said.
The city says there is no excuse. Dog owners must bring bags to clean up after their animals. If you don’t, walkers will face fines ranging from $250 to $2,000, and you can’t blame Fido, Mayor Ravinder Bhalla said.
“We have undercover units that will be issuing summonses for infractions, as well as just a public education campaign,” Bhalla said of the city’s “Poop Patrol.”
Dressed in plain clothes, Humane Law Enforcement Officer Bernardo Munoz was helping with the health department’s enforcement, handing out fliers with information about local ordinances.
“It has been a major concern, as you’re aware, for the public. They are complaining. We want to educate the public, see if we can develop more responsible dog owners, so we can make sure we clean up after ourselves,” Munoz said. “I’m a dog owner as well and we want to make sure we respect one another and treat our animals and our community in a safe manner, healthy manner and clean manner.”
Other dog owners agreed.
“Feces on the street can’t be that healthy for people, so you should clean it up,” Alan Ginsburg said.
It’s a major health concern, especially for children who play in the parks.
“That’s what our main goal is, to make sure everything is healthy and clean for our children, so the children can come and enjoy the day,” Munoz said. “Adults, too. We want them to come out and enjoy the weather, especially when it’s starting to get nice now.”
“Hoboken is perhaps the most walkable city in the country, so we want to make sure that our sidewalks are clean,” Bhalla added.
When asked if he busted anyone during the early stages of the crackdown, Munoz said, “Yeah, there have been some infractions, yes, but we’re choosing to educate right now instead of issuing fines.”
Residents can report problem areas on the Hoboken 311 app.