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OLEAN – Dog owners in the city may be paying more if they do not clean up after their pets while out on walks.

Ward 2 Councilwoman Ann McLaughlin said she has received phone calls, visits and letters from her constituents on the east side, requesting that something be done about the number of people that do not clean up after their canines.

A proposed city law will increase the penalties that have been on the books since 1998.

“This change is intended to make people change their behaviors by hitting them where it hurts – the pocketbook,” she said.

The new fine schedule would hold the initial fine at $25, but subsequent fines increase to $100 and $300, respectively, for violations within the same calendar year.

Previously, the first violation would cost the dog walker $25, the second $50, and the third $100.

“I think this is a good idea,” Ward 6 Councilman Nate Smith, said. “I deal with this problem with properties I own. I get calls on this matter from my constituents. This is something that has been needed for a while.”

Mayor Linda Witte questioned the amount of enforcement of the law. “I would be curious to see how many tickets are written for this violation,” she said, “It is disrespectful of the sidewalks and of our community. We need to do what we can to stop this.”

The new fees would take effect in January. The proposal is expected to come before the regular meeting of the Common Council in December.