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Pet waste problem taken to Bellefonte Council

BELLEFONTE — Bellefonte Borough Council has a message for its residents with pets: If you let your pet do its business in a borough yard or on a sidewalk, you better pick it up.

At the first council meeting of the month, Bellefonte resident Scott Mauger voiced concerned over what he views as a growing problem in the borough.

“I’m tired of picking up pet waste — and that’s dog and cat waste — on our lawn. It’s not our pet’s (waste). I’m also hearing others in the neighborhood complain that they’re finding it on their lawns, too,” Mauger said. “I also walk several miles daily and I’ve seen it in the lawns in the post office and the library.”

Mauger said that he has tried to remind those who are walking their pets that it is their responsibility to clean up after it.

“I confronted somebody at the post office who walked away from it and offered (them) a bag. I was told, basically, to go to hell,” Mauger said.

Mauger believes it is a growing problem in the borough.

“Would you please put the word out again about cleaning up after your pets? If possible, send out a notice of some sort,” Mauger asked.

Council member Michael Prendergast acknowledged the problem.

“I walk around with bags in my pockets. It’s frustrating for me,” he said.

There are fines involved if you are caught not picking up after your pet. Borough manager Ralph Stewart said that council could look at increasing the fines.

According to the borough’s website, all dogs should be kept under control, on a leash.

It says: “No owner of any dog, whether or not the dog is licensed, shall allow or permit such dog to run at large at any time upon any of the streets, alleys or public grounds in the Borough or upon the property of another, unless such dog is accompanied by and under the immediate control of the owner, custodian or keeper.”

Stewart said that if you observe someone in violation of the ordinance, police should be contacted.

“Report it to the police department and they’ll send out our animal enforcement officer,” Stewart said.

Bellefonte Borough Police Sgt. Jason Brower addressed council’s concerns. He asked that residents get the act on record.

“Everybody has a cell phone. If you see somebody and their dog is doing something in your yard and they’re walking away from it, there is no law against you walking outside and taking their picture or a video. That is evidence for us in court,” Brower said. “We can use that and issue a fine.”

Brower said that sometimes, simply pulling out a cell phone does the trick.

“Oftentimes, when you pull out a cell phone, people are going to right their wrongs,” Brower said.

Officer Eric Haupt is the borough’s animal control officer. He can be reached at (814) 353-2320 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. After hours, police can be reached at the same number or by calling 911.

“Just call us or notify us,” Brower said. “We have to know about it. If we don’t know about it, we can’t fix it.”

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