Valley Breeze

The North Providence Breeze 04-03-2019

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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NORTH PROVIDENCE EDITION | VALLEY BREEZE | APRIL 3-9, 2019 NORTH PROVIDENCE 5 NORTH PROVIDENCE – With warmer weather arriving, residents want to get outside and enjoy it, says Lyman Avenue resident Paula Mete- Maxwell, but inconsiderate people are routinely making that an unpleasant prospect as they refuse to clean up after their dogs. Mete-Maxwell, owner of what she describes as her own "poop factory" terrier Louie, says she offers pet own- ers walking ni her neighborhood poop baggies, but they routinely ignore her or tell her they already have one. A few years ago, she said, the smell on her street got so bad during the summer that she mostly stayed inside during the warmer months. Signs are posted, she said, but "they let their dogs poop right under the sign, like, 'yea right, I'll pay a fine.' They're so ignorant." Mete-Maxwell said she was raised to clean up after her dog and to keep her property clean. The issue is espe- cially impactful to residents because it attracts rats, she said, which has become a perennial problem in this neighborhood. The Lyman Avenue resident is apparently not alone, as town officials, responding to complaints across town, have installed more and more signs reminding residents to pick up after their pets. Town ordinances prohibit residents from leaving animal feces behind on either public properties or private properties belonging to someone else. The rules ban pet-walking if a resident doesn't have the means to pick up after their pet. Mete-Maxwell lives near a four-way stop at the intersection of Lyman and Greenville Avenues. A grassy sidewalk at the corner is being used as a favor- ite spot to let dogs go without picking it up, she said, which makes her angry, especially because she's the one who goes through the neighborhood to clean up. Complaints to former Town Councilor Kristen Catanzaro prompt- ed a visit and installation of a new sign telling people to pick up their dog waste and explaining how unsanitary it is to leave it. With the sign in place now, the situation hasn't been quite as bad, said Mete-Maxwell. One local man goes by with his three husky-type dogs and can barely handle walking them, never mind cleaning up after them, she said. Many of those responsible for the mess don't live here. "People are so ignorant that they think it is OK for them to use this street as a dog toilet," she said. Animal Control Officer Ernie Calandra concurred with Mete- Maxwell that the town has an issue with dog owners not cleaning up.He said officials take the many complaints they receive seriously. What Calandra typically tells people is that if they know who owns or cares for a dog and isn't cleaning up after it, they should contact him and he'll go out to talk to that person about the need to use a pooper scooper or bag to dispose of the feces properly, he said. Calandra also works with the Department of Public Works sign department to create signs for installa- tion in response to complaints. More often than not, those signs function as a deterrent, he said. If a situation gets really bad and there are reports of a repeat offender who's violating the town's eordinance at about the same time every day, said Calandra, he'll go out and do his own post to enforce the standards. "Sometimes people are just ignorant and they don't comply with it," he said, but most in these modern times do know to clean up after their dogs. This issue rarely gets to the point of issuing violations, said Calandra. The town's 1995 ordinance on cleaning up after dogscalls for a $10 penalty on a first violation, not more than $15 for a second within a year, and $25 for each subsequent violation within that same year. Calandra estimates he's handed out about a half-dozen violations in his more than two decades on the job. Mete-Maxwell, 65, said she's sure some people think she's just a crazy old lady, but she can't fathom how someone can't just go pick up 50 bags for $1 and take care of their own pet's waste. One area that's become a problem is a little park on Greenville Avenue, she said. Last fall town workers cleaned up the park, which has a large sign urging residents to clean up the waste, but that sign is across the street on a pole where the people who are walk- ing their dogs can't actually see it, she said. As Mete-Maxwell sees it, God gave us knees for a reason, and that's so we can bend down to pick up after our dogs. Anyone who wants to make a com- plaint about irresponsible pet owners can call Calandra at 401-719-1516. Stop the stink: Residents urged to pick up after dogs By ETHAN SHOREY Valley Breeze Managing Editor North Providence resident PAULA METE-MAXWELL, here with her dog LILLY, says the town needs to do a bet- ter job enforcing its rules requiring that dog owners pick up after their pets. SIGNS such as this one have proliferated across town as officials have responded to residents' com- plaints about people not pick- ing up after their pets.

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