Councilors Seek Stepped Up Enforcement of Downtown Haverhill Dog Poop Cleanup Rules

Haverhill City Councilor Thomas J. Sullivan. (WHAV News file photograph by Jay Saulnier.)

In France, there is a superstition regarding stepping in dog poop. Specifically, if it is with your left foot, it is considered to be good luck.

Business owners in downtown Haverhill, however, do not buy into that bit of folklore. For the third time in two years, the Haverhill City Council heard from business owners and others about the problem of dog waste on downtown sidewalks and other areas. Matt Gaiero is one of those business owners.

“We’re finding waste in sidewalks, parks, flowerbeds, alleyways behind buildings. I’ve cleaned up in front of my front door, in front of Haverhill Eyecare. There’s a lot of businesses downtown that do the same thing on a daily basis,” he said.

Tired of the lack of success in handling the problem previously, Gaiero and his wife Denise circulated a petition asking the city to get serious about the issue. Councilor Thomas J. Sullivan read it during Tuesday’s city council meeting.

“We, the property owners, business owners, residents and patrons of downtown Haverhill demand that the City of Haverhill better enforce the dog poop laws, including more patrols and increasing the fine for not picking up after your dogs, better maintenance and regular restocking of the doggie poop bag stations and, most importantly, implement a regular weekly cleanup of all dog poop and trash waste throughout the entire downtown area by the appropriate city department,” he quoted.

Sullivan said the petition was signed by more than 250 Haverhill residents.

Sullivan asked that all of the ideas presented by Gaiero and others offered by members of the Council be referred to the body’s Natural Resources and Public Property Committee where a comprehensive plan to tackle the problem will be developed.

Councilors agreed, approving the motion by a vote of 8-0 with Councilor Shaun P. Toohey absent.

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