China Grove now requires dog, cat owners to pick up their pet’s droppings

Published 12:05 am Wednesday, August 10, 2016

By Josh Bergeron

CHINA GROVE — If your dog leaves droppings behind on an afternoon walk, you may be breaking a newly passed law.

In China Grove, the town’s ordinances now require dog and cat owners to pick up their pet’s poo after they drop a No. 2. Places where it’s not OK to allow poo to sit include: public streets, sidewalks, gutters, parks and other publicly owned property. Private property is OK if the owners give permission.

As part of its consent agenda, the China Grove Town Board passed the change to its ordinances last week. The consent agenda is used for items with unanimous support, and the new rule was approved along with other measures that included: golf carts on town streets, amendments to the town’s travel policy and rules about the height of vegetation. The new rule took effect on Aug. 2.

Town Manager Ken Deal says the new rule arose from six to eight complaints from local residents.

“Basically they said ‘we don’t mind folks walking their dogs on a leash, but we want them to clean up after themselves,'” Deal said.

Deal said the town doesn’t plan to install bag dispensers around town for animal feces. Mayor Lee Withers clarified that the complaints were from people whose neighbors were allowing their animals to poop in their yard, not in public.

“I think it’s never fun when government has to assist in regulating common sense,” Withers said about the new town ordinance. “Sometimes, the 10 percent ruin it for the 90 percent … sometimes you have to put rules in place to assist people.”

The latest, online version of China Grove’s ordinances would allow the town to fine a person for violating the new animal feces ordinance. When asked, Deal confirmed that a fine could be a potential punishment for offenders.

He said reporting people verbally wouldn’t be enough to constitute a violation of the new town ordinance.

“I guess you’re going to have to take a picture with your cell phone saying this is who did it,” Deal said, laughing. “It’s kind of weird that we have to do something like this.”

Withers said he hopes China Grove residents will be “good stewards of the community.” He said that his family’s pet usually stays inside and on his own property.

“I would adhere by this common-sense ordinance,” Withers said.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.