Throughout the month of May VoterHeads monitored 1241 Organizations and found 2621 new meetings within those organizations. Monitoring the topic of Pets and Animals, VH found 431 matching agenda items in those meetings, with Animal Control being the main topic of the majority of those. Asheboro North Carolina, for example, released a summary of statistics on their Animal Control over the past year. Some of the most impressive being the miles traveled (36,252) Animals picked up (673, with over 200 of those being dogs), and over 1,000 calls received.
That being said, there were a couple of interesting agenda items over the month of May outside of the usual realm of Animal Control: The main two of these stories occur in the towns of Cambridge MA and Greenville SC.
On May 23rd of this year, Richard C. Rossi, the Cambridge City Manager, penned a letter to the City Council concerning the decision on Report Item Number 16-37. This report was created to investigate whether additional signage was necessary around Market St. to increase the responsibility of pet owners over their animal’s defecation. Mr. Rossi argued that although “the vast majority of dog owners in the City act responsibly and recognize the importance of animal regulations, including the need to pick up after their pets.” the few that disregard the rules, have a huge effect on the public space and its appeal to others. Dog poop, mainly abandoned dog poop, is becoming a major focus of many homeowners associations, towns, and cities alike.
The issue may be the same across the world, however, methods to dispel the poo vary widely. There is the common practice of placing signs and free doggy- bags in public places, as is mentioned in Mr. Rossi’s letter, and then there are uncommon methods adopted by those most at the end of their rope. In the town of Torrelodones Spain, the town council installed a giant inflatable poo. One that town council spokesman Angel Guiraos said “represents the amount of poo left on the streets across the town each day,” due to the 6,000 dogs who can produce about 1,100 pounds of excrement that live in Torrelodones. As light-hearted and, dare I say, cute the plan was, it inevitably backfired, and the giant 9-foot tall poop itself was picked up and stolen! Así es la vida!
On the opposite end of the spectrum of ways to deal with ignorant dog owners comes the DNA testing of HOAs across Florida. DNA testing my seem ridiculous, however thanks to technology today it is reactively cost efficient yielding an almost 90% improvement in the communities that have adopted it. In the community of Osprey Run for example, each new homeowner is required to have their dogs DNA registered when they move in. Then, if poo is found on the ground by either an employee or ‘lucky volunteer’ they take a sample and ship it off to PooPrints, a subsidiary of a Tennessee Biotech company, where it is matched to a dog in the neighborhood and the owner is left facing a one hundred dollar fine. Talk about using technology to get the job done. Now, although Cambridge has not gone to the level of DNA testing, Mr. Rossi discusses the increase in fines to $100 and the introduction of a few morning coffees and giveaways at dog parks to encourage picking up after our canine friends.
In other news, Zoos! That place we go to get a taste of the wild while still in the safety of the concrete of which we have grown so accustom. In May, Greenville, SC discussed awarding $12,520 in funding received from the Greenville Zoo
Conservation Fund for Fiscal Year 2016 to nine designated local and
international conservation programs. Conservation has become an important issue to the Greenville SC zoo after the increase in the entrance fee by a quarter in 2010, intending to use this increase in revenue to support conservation initiatives across the world. The report concluded that the financial impact would be little; seeing as how the funds for the donation were collected with this result in mind, and the monies already exists. A couple of the programs under consideration for receiving a bit of the donation are The Effects of Habitat Quality, Prey Availability, and Wildlife Health on the Reproduction of a Declining Predator (Eastern
Diamondback rattlesnake) in an Urban Landscape” – Ms. Kimberly Andrews via Georgia Sea Turtle Center for $1,000, “Completion of a Bio-secure Facility for Captive Breeding and Re-introduction of Panamanian Golden Frogs” – Dr. Brad Lock via Zoo Atlanta for $3,000, and “Amphibian Survey of Anderson University’s Wetlands” – Ivy Wilson and Dr. Joni Criswell via Anderson University for $850. Although these sums of money may seem small, every little bit helps in the quest for the conservation of our planet.