Get tough on owners who don't clean up after pets

Dog handlers take their charges out for a morning walk.
Dog handlers take their charges out for a morning walk. PHOTO: ST FILE

Despite numerous notices displayed in lift lobbies and parks advising pet owners to clean up after their pets, it seems many simply can't be bothered and continue to act in an inconsiderate and irresponsible manner.

It's time for the authorities to get tough for the sake of hygiene. Some residents have even resorted to putting up their own notices inside lifts near the soiled areas, appealing to pet owners to be good and responsible neighbours by not allowing their pets to urinate or defecate in public areas.

Owners who do not clean up after their pets in public areas can be fined up to $1,000 by the National Environment Agency. But there is no town council by-law on this. If owners continue to blatantly ignore signs and notices, town councils should introduce mandatory fines or ban them from owning pets.

They should also install closed-circuit television cameras and display the culprits' photos to shame them into compliance.

Some owners don't seem to realise that if they don't clear the mess, they are putting people and other dogs and cats at risk of getting sick.

Another common misconception is that if you don't pick it up, it will quickly break down or wash away. Dog waste can take as long as a year to naturally break down, and the bacteria linger in the soil.

Dog and cat urine smells sharply of ammonia, which is an irritant to the lungs.

As more people own dogs and cats, we need to do something about inconsiderate owners.

Cheng Choon Fei

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 21, 2019, with the headline 'Get tough on owners who don't clean up after pets'. Print Edition | Subscribe