Press Releases

Wednesday, June 02, 2004
No. 45


Former New York City Mayor Edward I. Koch, Department of Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe, New York State Supreme Court Justice Edward H. Lehner and members of the Friends of Jemmy’s Dog Run today joined in Madison Square Park to recognize the 25th year of the Canine Waste Law, commonly referred to as the “pooper-scooper law,” and to remind New Yorkers to clean up after their dogs. The legislation, first introduced by then-Assembly Member Lehner and former Senator Franz Leichter, went into effect in August 1978. “If you’ve ever stepped in dog doo, you know how important it is to enforce the canine waste law,” said Mr. Koch. “New Yorkers overwhelmingly do their duty and self-enforce. Those who don't are not fit to call friend.” “The Sanitation Department enforcement unit has carefully trained officers out on the streets every day looking for violators of the city’s very successful ‘pooper-scooper law,’” said Commissioner Doherty. “The officers are on duty to make sure that New Yorkers and visitors can enjoy the city's streets, which are now the cleanest they’ve been in the last 30 years.” “The ‘pooper-scooper law’ is as important in our parks and public spaces today as it was twenty-five years ago,” said Commissioner Benepe. “From the over three dozen dog runs in parks across the city to park paths to sidewalks, it’s important that New Yorkers make it their business to take care of their dogs’ business.” “In the twenty-five years since we passed that law, I have never stepped in it,” said Justice Lehner. “It has become a law, not only in large cities, but in many smaller cities worldwide.” “I’m happy the law has worked as well as it has,” said Mr. Leichter. “New York City is a lot cleaner because of it.” In 1978, the Canine Waste Law (Section 1310 of the New York State Public Health Code) went into effect across New York State and called for the “Removal of canine wastes in cities with a population of four hundred thousand or more persons.” In the past year, the Department of Sanitations’s enforcement wrote 644 summonses for those in violation of the canine waste law. New York City was the first major American city to have such a law. Since then, San Francisco, Boston, Dallas, Houston, Palm Springs, Stamford, and other cities across the country—and abroad—have adopted similar legislation. -30-

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