Some Falls Church residents, arguing that there is something worse than the bark of the city's 600 dogs, are urging the City Council to consider a pooper-scooper law.
The proposed law, to come before the council Monday night, would require owners, keepers or walkers of any dog to remove the dog's excrement from public or private property. Failure to comply could result in a $50 fine.
Enforcement, Mayor Carol De Long conceded yesterday, could be difficult. Similar laws are on the books in Alexandria and Arlington, Montgomery and Prince George's counties, but not in Fairfax County or the District.
The proposed Falls Church law was requested by Councilman Gary Knight after residents of the Winter Hill and Cherry Hill residential complexes complained of what they told the mayor was a "big problem" in their neighborhood, the most heavily concentrated housing area in the two-square-mile city.
De Long said she does not know if many of the city's 9,500 residents feel the same way about the city's 549 licensed dogs, but she said she expects the council will enact the law.
De Long said city officials believe that their police officers, who drive about the city in Volvo police cruisers, have their hands full enforcing other laws and will not be able to nab every offending canine. So any "aggrieved citizen" will have to go to a magistrate to secure a summons against an offending dog's owner.
Because the $50 fine is the smallest possible fine allowed in Virginia for such a misdemeanor, she said, it is likely that the courts will use the law.
But De Long said she has her doubts. The proposal, she said, is not "an actually enforceable law, but something to serve as a code of conduct."