Want More Money? Try Banning Pet Dogs

Will keeping dogs away make more people come and play — er, spend?

That is the trade-off under consideration in Beaver Falls, a western Pennsylvania city of 10,000. Fox News reports that the area is working to revitalize a stretch of its downtown business district along Seventh Avenue, and the plan may include banning dogs from the newly spruced up blocks.

Beaver County, best known as Joe Namath’s home, has been battered by the recession, according to the Huffington Post. It wants to “draw new business and investors” and is concerned that dogs — or more accurately, dog owners’ behavior — may keep business away.

One concern is that large dogs tied to parking meters “can scare customers,” according to some residents.

A second problem is that “people aren’t cleaning up after their dogs,” as city councilmember John “Chuckie” Kirkland told CBS Pittsburgh. “I tell you I get disgusted.”

City Administrator Steve Johnson explained that, “Itís not that anybody on the council doesnít like dogs. I like dogs. We certainly donít want to discourage people from having a dog. Itís just that many dog owners are being irresponsible and ruining things for everybody.”

Other cities have no problem maintaining thriving business districts that welcome dogs; the Huffington Post cited Fifth Avenue in New York City and the Champs Elysees in Paris as examples.

It seems that Beaver Falls may be unnecessarily limiting its options. Other measures it might consider include banning people from tying their dogs up along the revitalized section of Seventh Avenue, launching an awareness campaign about the legal requirement to clean up after dogs, and increasing the penalties for violating these rules.

Elsewhere, people have taken things even further by testing the DNA of abandoned doggie doo to identify scofflaws. According to the Huffington Post, some apartment buildings and condominiums require resident dog owners to “register their pets’ DNA with a lab,” and fine owners whose dogs’ DNA matches piles found on the residential properties.

This particular solution is likely to be too expensive and unwieldy for an entire city to impose, but it illustrates the range of possibilities available short of banning dogs from a neighborhood.

Newspaper and online reports about the Beaver Falls proposal have not mentioned any discussion of a predictable unintended consequence of a canine ban: more unscooped dog leavings on streets adjacent to the regulated zone, and dogs tied to parking meters blocks away from their owners’ destinations. The further the parking meter, the longer the dog must stay tied up alone waiting for his or her person to come back. These problems could depress business at shops and companies away from Seventh Avenue, which obviously would not further Beaver Falls’ overall economic recovery.

The debate is far from over. “Officials are also considering an incentive program for owners to keep their dogs away,” the Huffington Post reports. According to CBS Pittsburgh, Beaver Falls doesn’t plan to make a final decision until later this year.

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Photo credit: iStockphoto

119 comments

Fi T.
Fi T.3 years ago

Please be fair to our furry friends

Pam Parsons
Pam Parsons3 years ago

People need to FULLY AWARE of what their punishments for not picking up after their dog,they cannot leave their dog on poles.they must at all times be holding a leach with their dog at one end and themself on the other.I think a good punishment would be denying the owner,not the dog,access to the property.It would be good to have relife stations containing bags,wipes and designated barrels for waste.

Winn Adams
Winn Adams3 years ago

Banning dogs would keep me away. Allowing dogs would certainly enhance my experience and I'd be more likely to go there. What in the ^&*(*%$# are these people thinking?

CHRISTINANICKI G.
.3 years ago

all about money,money and again money,preposterous,stupid and ignorant,thank you for sharing

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson4 years ago

WHAT?! preposterous

Valentina R.
Valentina R.4 years ago

As usual. Dogs get punished for their owners' stupid and uncivilized manners. If everyone cleaned after their dog, there would be less prejudice against the latter.

Sheri D.
Sheri D.4 years ago

Post signs that owners will be fined for not picking up after their dogs. Put trash cans on each block. Have police cars drive slowly by the area occasionally to send a message to dog owners.

Carol M.
caroline m.4 years ago

If there is a problem with owners picking up after the dogs then I think maybe put a box with empty bags for the owners to pick up after the dogs and then fine them if they do not pick up after their dogs.

Carrie Anne Brown

thanks for sharing :)

Kathryn Terhune Cotton

I live near Eugene, OR and they have an ordnance in downtown banning dogs. And there is an ordnance banning loitering. My son got arrested for loitering with his friends and was banned from entering an area of approximately 6 square blocks. I couldn't DRIVE thought that area with him in the car for fear of being pulled over for something... anything and having him get arrested again for violating his parole! Oh, and there is another one banning sitting on a wall. The cited a pregnant woman who was feeling ill for sitting on a wall in downtown Eugene. Seriously. I wonder if I would be cited for walking down the street in downtown Eugene for having my SERVICE dog with me? Somehow it would surprise me.I thought these were *public* areas - they are maintained with my tax dollars. I wonder why I feel kind of like I live next to Nazi Germany?