After increasing the cost of pooper scooper fines from $100 to $250, city inspectors issued far fewer tickets to dog owners who didn't pick up after their pooches last year. The number of pooper scooper violations plummeted from 903 in the fiscal year of 2008 to just 580 in 2009—but experts say the decline in tickets has nothing to do with the higher cost of the violations.
According to amNY, the Department of Sanitation wouldn't comment on whether or not higher fines caused the downturn in dog poop tickets, which are issued by a team of 24 officers who travel the city by car and visit dog poop danger-zones based on 311 reports and complaints on the city's website. "This summons is among the most difficult for the department to write, since our enforcement agents must see the dog owner walk away from their dog's waste," said a spokesman.
But dog owners and animal waste experts said the risk of a fine—even a $250 one—won't convince some people to pick up after their pooches. And considering that as the number of dog poop violations dropped, the number of dog poop complaints surged to a three-year high of 4,443, the fines aren't really a deterrent, according to Michael Brandow, the author of a book on the city's poop scoop law. "The threat of fines has never worked in convincing New Yorkers to follow this law," said Brandow. "If there has been a decrease in the number of summonses issued, it has not been because of a decrease in the number of law-breaking dog owners."