Montgomery County

Dog indiscretion leads to Amsterdam ordinance change

A dog did what dogs do recently - his business - on the Mohawk Valley Gateway Overlook bridge in Ams
Dignitaries at the compass after the ribbon cutting for the Mohawk Valley Gateway Overlook pedestrian bridge on August 31, 2016.
Dignitaries at the compass after the ribbon cutting for the Mohawk Valley Gateway Overlook pedestrian bridge on August 31, 2016.

In early-September, just days after the grand opening of the Mohawk Valley Gateway Overlook bridge in Amsterdam that featured several state and local dignitaries, including Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, a decidedly undignified event occurred: someone allowed their dog to defecate on the bridge and did not clean up after it.

“There was an incident on the bridge shortly after it opened,” said Amsterdam Mayor Michael Villa on Thursday. “There was dog feces on the bridge.”

Early reports said the dog waste was actually found on the bridge’s inlaid compass design – a seven-foot-wide raised platform depicting where the Mohawk River meets the Chuctanunda Creek that forms the artistic centerpiece of the bridge – but Villa doubts this.

“It was near the compass, I don’t believe it was on the compass,” he said.

The Daily Gazette was unable to identify the exact spot on the bridge where the offending pile was left.

But city aldermen responded quickly to the fecal faux pas, beefing up a city ordinance that punishes pet owners who don’t clean up after their dogs.

The original ordinance prohibits a dog owner to allow their canine companion to “defecate on public or private property without the permission of the owner of such property” and requires the owner to “immediately remove” any such feces that does get left on “any sidewalk, gutter, street, grassy area between the street and sidewalk, park, school yard or other public or private property…”

Violators previously faced a $100 fine for disobeying the ordinance. The amended ordinance adds the “Mohawk Valley Gateway Overlook” to the list of locations covered by the order, and increases the fine to no less than $200.

Villa clarified that the fine would only be assessed against those who fail to clean up after their dog, not those who, for example, allow their dog to relieve themselves on a public sidewalk and promptly remove any feces.

Appearance tickets for violating the ordinance, which doesn’t apply to guide, hearing or service dogs, can be issued by police officers, dog control officers, code inspectors and any person authorized to issue tickets for parking violations.

Villa said the amended ordinance, which passed unanimously Sept. 5, is now in effect and he hasn’t heard of anyone being slapped with the increased fine for not cleaning up after their dog.

“We haven’t had any further incidents, which is a good thing,” he said.

Reach Gazette reporter Dan Fitzsimmons at 852-9605, [email protected] or @DanFitzsimmons on Twitter.

Categories: News, Schenectady County

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