Pooper scooper laws have been in effect all over the world for quite some time.
But a milestone in the ‘dog doo’ wars was reached on August 1, 1978, when New York City’s Canine Waste Law, referred to as the “pooper-scooper” law, took effect, requiring dog owners to pick up after their pets. In 1978, New York had an estimated half-million dogs, most of which were not licensed. Complaints about dog feces on city sidewalks were common, so, in an effort to clean up the “littered” sidewalks, the City of New York passed the Canine Waste Law.

The story of the pooper scooper law begins in Nutley, New Jersey, in 1971 (some citizens band together against a neighborhood Great Dane), crosses the Hudson (a hundred and twenty-five tons of dog shit a day clotting the sidewalks of ‘Dung City’!), skips to Albany (Koch kicks the issue upstate after the City Council fails to take action), and culminates in New York’s becoming the first big city to force owners to clean up after their dogs.


The law, 161.03 of the New York City Health Code, states, “A person who owns, possesses or controls a dog, cat or other animal shall not permit the animal to commit a nuisance on a sidewalk of any public place.” It went into effect 1978 and has been adopted by many cities and towns in the last 34 years. Ed Koch, mayor of New York when the law was passed, noted the value of the pooper scooper law on its 25th anniversary: “If you’ve ever stepped in dog doo, you know how important it is to enforce the canine waste law.”

The example at the top was photographed by Don Meeker, somewhere in the environs of Paris. Above is an example of an official road sign used in New York City. Finally, Ultimate Symbol developed the new symbol (below), designed to international standards, to cover “No Pet Poop” for general usage, and as needed wherever there are no laws yet in effect.


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