Pet waste upsets Williamstown officials

By Jolene Craig

Special to the Times

WILLIAMSTOWN -Officials with the city and council spoke Tuesday about the problem of pet owners not cleaning up after their dogs or cats.

“Dogs and cats are running loose and defecating in yards other than their own,” said Mayor Jean Ford. “Our police department has received numerous complaints and we want pet owners to remember this is in our city code.”

According to section 4-13 of the city code, dogs are prohibited from running at large and are required to be on a leash outside the confines of their owners’ premises. This code states dogs must wear collars with a current and valid registration and vaccination tags.

Section 4-17 of the city code prohibits owners from allowing their pets to defecate on property within the city, other than their own unless the droppings are immediately removed.

“Dogs running loose and doing what they want where they want is a problem,” said Councilman Marty Seufer.

Ford agreed and said the city police department will start “cracking down on this dog problem” with charges and fines.

“The police department is aware of this problem and is on the lookout and will fine the owners,” the mayor added. “It is a misdemeanor offense.”

Violation of the code includes a $50 fine for the first offense and $100 for each subsequent offense.

“We want people to be aware of these ordinances and to follow them,” Ford said.

Another complaint the Williamstown Police Department has been hearing about is high and unmowed grass, weeds and vegetation throughout the city.

According to section 10-5 of the city code, no owner, occupant or person in charge of any premises or their agent or employee shall (allow). . . any growth of weeds or grass on any part of any sidewalk abutting their property.

“There is a lot to this ordinance, but people need to be aware of the conditions and mow their property,” Ford said.

Ford said the police officers are aware of these two issues and will look for problems and speak with and/or fine those who do not follow the city’s ordinances.