Council Member Julie Menin seeks cleaner sidewalks with launch of new Curb Your Dog Contest

Portrait of a cute Yorkshire Dog with woman legs (low section) on the street, New York
Photo via Getty Images

New York City Council Member Julie Menin is launching a Curb Your Dog Campaign and Design Contest this spring in an effort toward cleaner sidewalks and parks in Council District 5.

In District 5, containing the Upper East Side, Yorkville, East Harlem, Midtown East and Roosevelt Island, the growing frequency of dog waste on sidewalks and in parks is one of the most common quality of life complaints that Menin’s office receives. 

“It’s frankly unacceptable and should be an expectation, not an option to pick up your dog’s waste,” Menin said. 

According to a recent study by the journal Indoor and Built Environment, there is a “concerning” level of fecal bacteria on sidewalks in Manhattan. The study was conducted by sampling water from puddles on the street in the Upper East Side, with a focus on areas that did not appear to be contaminated or dirty.

Researchers discovered that per 3.4-ounce bottle of street puddle water, approximately 31,000 fecal bacteria known as enterococci were found. Enterococci are “indicator” bacteria that live in the intestines of warm-blooded animals and are tracked by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to determine if water is contaminated by fecal waste.

To compare, a public beach would be shut down if there were 110 cells of enterococci per 3.4 ounce per water.

The fecal waste that lives on the sidewalks can be brought into New Yorkers homes via shoe soles and stroller wheels. With over half a million dogs in New York City, Menin is launching the Curb Your Dog Contest as part of a campaign to combat this issue.

“I launched this campaign to ensure dog owners curb their dog as it shouldn’t be the norm to dodge canine waste or worry about tracking fecal bacteria back into your home on your shoes, stroller, or shopping cart,” Menin said.

“Curb Your Dog” campaigns in New York City are not a recent idea. They have been around since the 1930s. The City of New York has also mandated New Yorkers to clean up their dog’s waste in all public areas or risk a $250 fine since 1978. However, in 2013, curb your dog signs across the city were taken down due to them being weathered and aged and the expectation that people would clean up after their dog without a sign telling them to do so.

“This contest will serve as a reminder to dog owners to take responsibility for cleaning up after their beloved pet,” Menin said.

Menin’s contest is open to residents of District 5 or individuals who attend school in District 5 to submit their best graphic designs and slogans for the new dog waste cleanup campaign.

To participate, send your entry to curbyourdog.district5@gmail.com in a JPEG or PNG file between March 23 and April 22. 

All entries must include your first name, last name, address, email address and an image or slogan that relates to curbing your dog. Every entry must fit an 11” by 8.5” landscape, appeal to the broad audience community and be able to be distributed across the district. Entries are limited to one per person, must be your own work and become the property of the Office of Council Member Julie Menin.

The judging period will begin on April 23 and end on May 1. The winner will be notified via email on or about May 1. The winning design will be displayed across Council District 5 partnering buildings, schools, neighborhood associations and featured on the social media platforms of Council Member Julie Menin.