Village has poop, scoop and carry law nearly in the bag

CHATHAM—Village trustees reviewed the proposed “pooper scooper” law at their meeting Thursday, March 12. The draft law, which will be the subject of a public hearing Thursday, March 26, not only says that dog owners must pick up their pets’ waste, it also says they have to take it home with them.
     The proposed law states: “It shall be the responsibility of each dog owner… to remove any feces left by such dog on any sidewalk, gutter, street, public areas or privately owned property (other than the property of the dog owner) within the Village of Chatham.” The proposal also says that “every person, while walking a dog… in The Village of Chatham shall carry a device, commonly known as a ‘pooper scooper,’ or such other implements or materials, to be utilized for the purpose of removing the feces and for carrying of the same to the premise of the owner of the dog for proper disposal.”
     Some board members seemed surprised when a village resident at the meeting questioned the requirement that dog owners carry their dogs’ waste home rather than disposing of it in the nearest receptacle. The resident, Parry Teasdale, the editor and publisher of The Columbia Paper, said that while he supported the requirement that residents clean up after their dogs, he feared that not providing places to dispose of the waste would cause out-of-town dog owners not to visit the village. Mr. Teasdale suggested the board defer passage of the take-it-home requirement until the village could demonstrate that disposal of dog waste in public trash cans has caused problems.
     Trustee Lael Locke, a dog owner, said she also had concerns about the disposal part of the law.
     Mayor Paul Boehme, who said he doesn’t like creating new laws but believes this one is important, expressed some interest in the suggestion about the law.
      Also at the meeting, Mayor Boehme announced updates on the roadwork in the village. He said the road and storm sewer upgrade project funded by the state will continue under the railroad tracks on Railroad and Spring Streets in mid-March, including the retaining wall on Spring. As crews dig up the street, the village will put in a new water main along Hudson Avenue. Mayor Boehme and Trustees said the village will save a substantial amount of money by replacing the aging water pipe while the state has excavated the road compared to a project done at another time, when the village would have to pay for excavation and re-paving of the street.
     The board also approved a resolution that will be sent to the Columbia County Board of Supervisors urging county government to keep the Pine Haven Nursing Home in the Village of Philmont. The Board of Supervisors has discussed moving the nursing home to Valatie. The county owns and operates Pine Haven.
     “That’s a community home and the community [of Philmont] supports it,” Trustee Dave Chapman said.
     Albert Wassenhove, a resident of Ghent, spoke at length to the Village Board in support of keeping Pine Haven in Philmont. Mr. Wassenhove, who has led a petition drive to keep the facility where it is, told the board, “Philmont has the water, the sewer and the land; Valatie does not.”
     The next Village Board is meeting is Thursday, March 26, at 7:30 p.m. at the Tracy Memorial.


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