Larry Pelletier of Auburn picks up garbage and dog waste from the sidewalk Monday afternoon on Second St. Pelletier, who has worked towards keeping Auburn’s sidewalks and public parks clean for years, came up with the idea for an informational brochure about the importance of dog owners scooping their dog’s poop. Sun Journal photo by Matthew Daigle

LEWISTON — For nearly 30 years, Larry Pelletier, a former school board member and current New Auburn resident, has been on a crusade to make sure the city’s public parks and walking trails remain free of trash.

Lately, he has set his sights on a different type of garbage that is found throughout the city: dog poop.

“It’s a huge problem right now,” Pelletier said. “I decided to stop talking about it and actually do something about it.”

Over the past several months, Pelletier has worked with the city of Auburn to create and distribute a brochure to dog owners called “Do You Scoop?”

The two-page brochure is filled with advice for dog owners, including a reminder to bring plastic bags with them when they walk their dogs so they can pick up what their pets leave behind.

It also features information about the downsides of not scooping dog poop, including the spreading of bacteria to the city’s water sources and its ability to attract rats.

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He spoke with Cristy Bourget, Auburn’s code compliance officer, and Communication and Liz Allen, the city’s communication and compliance manager, who agreed to find a way to distribute the brochures to people.

“I know that the brochures are being passed out to people when they go to register their dogs,” Pelletier said. “I think it’s important to get that information out there.”

According to Sec. 8-72 of Auburn’s code of ordinances, “all manure and other excrement shall be disposed of in such a manner so as to prevent it from becoming a public nuisance or health hazard.”

The ordinance recommends people violating the ordinance be fined up to $150 for the first offense and $500 for subsequent offenses.

Pelletier is no amateur when it comes to making sure Auburn’s public parks are clean.

In 1990, Pelletier said he used to walk back and forth from his house to Maine Oxy, where he worked at the time, and along the way he would pick up “whatever trash I came across and threw it in a trashcan or Dumpster.”

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As time passed, Pelletier said he noticed the litter problem was not getting better, and he started to attend Auburn City Council meetings to talk about it.

Pelletier said he used to visit former Mayor Dick Gleason at Happy Days Restaurant, when Gleason hosted “Coffee with the Mayor” events. Pelletier said he shared his concerns about the amount of litter scattered throughout the public parks.

“He joked with me and named me the ‘unofficial steward of the riverwalk,’” Pelletier said.

After seeing Pelletier’s dedication to cleaning Bonney Park and other walking trails in Auburn,the Public Works Department gave Pelletier a picker and a 5-gallon pail to use when he went for walks to pick up trash.

Pelletier said he still takes a walk through Bonney Park and other walking paths in Auburn with his picker and 5-gallon pail “whenever I have the time.”

At times, he said, there is too much dog poop on the trails “for me to do any good.”

“People need to take care of their own animal’s waste,” he said. “I feel like the litter problem is worse now than it was 20 years ago. I think it’s inconsiderate when people don’t scoop their dog’s poop.

“From a sanitation standpoint alone, it’s a problem. I’m trying to find a way to get the brochures displayed in the parks, too. It’s important that we keep our parks clean.”

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