Growing problems: Dog poop, cigarette butts, litter

LEWISTON — Dog poop. It's a serious problem. So are cigarette butts and litter.

Amber Waterman/Sun Journal

"The worst is when you're weed whacking along a fence and it splatters up in your face," said Nick Poland about the dog feces left on the Lewiston athletic fields, as he tended to them with Phil Couilard, background, Friday.

Dog owners, smokers and park lovers could do a better job keeping the outdoors clean, Public Works employees say.

When it comes to dog poop, athletes on the fields land in it and children playing in the park step in it, said Lewiston Public Works' Mike Bernier, who's in charge of maintaining the city's athletic fields and green spaces.

“People taking their dogs out, they're not picking it up,” Bernier said. “It seems to be getting worse. If you have any children on an athletic field, they're playing a game, they catch a ball and land right on dog crap.”

His crews mow and groom the fields. Often a worker is weed whacking and doesn't see the dog poop in the grass. “He has his head down,” Bernier said. “Boom! It's getting sprayed.” (Eeewww.)

It's illegal to not pick up dog waste, and people guilty of the crime are subject to fines. “I wish the Police Department had time, but they're responding to calls.”

Steve Murch, Lewiston's arborist, also said that dog waste is a growing problem in the city's downtown green spaces and flower gardens.

“We make a huge effort to make the intersections look nice with flower beds,” Murch said. But some dog owners use flower gardens “as a giant litter box,” he said. Dogs often wipe their paws after they've done their business, which is normal dog behavior, but it tears up flowers and soil. “Piles of feces are everywhere,” Murch said.

Second and third to dog waste are cigarette butts and litter.

Too many people, sometimes motorists at intersections, use city flower gardens “as their ashtrays,” Murch said. The gardens have mulch, and when the weather is hot and dry, a cigarette butt can start a fire, he said.

But mostly cigarette butts, which don't disintegrate, take away from the beauty of flowers. “They gather, it looks like hell around our flower beds.”

In the city parks and athletic fields, another problem is litter, Bernier said.

When the weather gets warmer, people leave soda bottles, food wrappers and leftover food on the grass, he said.

Besides exposing people to bacteria if it's not picked up, both dog poop and litter can get mushed into the ground by rain. From there, the waste goes down storm drains and eventually makes its way to the water treatment center or river.

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Comments

Eric  LeBlanc's picture

Make the fine $1000 and 30

Make the fine $1000 and 30 days in jail because that's what these disgusting pigs deserve. Either that or grab them by the back of the head and rub their face in it. Inconsiderate scumbags.

Steve  Dosh's picture

Growing problems: Dog poop, cigarette butts, litter

Bonnie , et. al, Earth Day noon hst ?
Dunno' what to say . It's a big problem in Paris , ƒrance , too , they say . It's natural , nyuk , nyuk . .... hth ? Steve one for Mark and the bag lady --> http://www.vanityfair.com/best-dressed-challenge
<-

Jeff Douglas's picture

trash cans

having trash cans available in the parks would help. there is not one single trashcan in railroad park!

Carl Kimball's picture

I KNOW

There's a lot where a building was torn down last year and now is the the litter box of most of the dogs in the area. These people want dogs, but have no respect to the people around them. I had written a letter to the editor just a little while ago about this lot at 10 College Street here in Lewiston. I did see kama one day. A person who's always letting his dog poop anywhere, step in some poop and was swearing while dragging his foot all over the place trying to get it off. But he didn't learn anything from it, he still allows his dog poop any where. I was told the police has to see it happen to be able to do anything. They can go talk to the owner and write them up if the dog don't have proper tags, but can't find them as the police didn't see it take place. But if you catch it on your cell phone camera, then it's a different story.

John Clement's picture

maybe that should be the new

maybe that should be the new motto for the city. "dog poop, cigarette butts, and litter"

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