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Is NOT Picking Up Dog Poop Illegal in Public & Private Property? [3 Facts]

Is not picking up dog poop illegal? Short answer, Yes. Failing to pick up dog poop is illegal in many places.

Dog poop can do more harm than you think not only to the environment but also to public health.

Do you actually know that there are laws that govern how dog poop should be handled and disposed of?

In New York, for instance, the “pooper scooper law” actually exists. It is a law that has been enforced to manage how you dispose of dog poop. Other states that have enforced this law include Houston, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, and Washington D.C among others.

Are your neighbors not picking up dog poop or are you one of those dog lovers who don’t pick up after their dog? This article will help you understand the consequences of breaking the law.

In this article, we shall discuss the legality of not picking up dog poop and the effects of dog poop on the environment and humanity at large.

Is Not Picking Up Dog Poop Illegal in Public and Private Property?

Pooper scooper laws vary across states in the United States, so we’d recommend familiarizing yourself with the laws in your state before taking your dog out for a walk. However, dog poop is a form of body waste, so there’s no doubt that it’s incredibly toxic. Therefore, we’d recommend that you pick up and dispose of the dog poop as a responsible citizen would, irrespective of whether or not picking up dog poop is illegal on public and private property in your state.

3 Interesting Facts Of Dog Poop You Didn’t Know

1. Dog Poop Is Actually Toxic

Contrary to common belief, dog poop is very toxic. This is based on the fact that it is strongly acidic. For this reason, it has been found to cause slight burns and discoloration around the lawn if not properly disposed of. Therefore, it is not a good fertilizer for your vegetables in the garden.

2. Dog Poop Contains Many Species Of Bacteria

The bacteria in dog poop such as E.Coli and Salmonella may not make your dog sick but if the poop is poorly disposed of, it can cause diseases to both humans and pets.

People may suffer from kidney disorders, diarrhea, and intestinal problems due to bacteria and parasites in the poop.

3. Dog Poop Odor Can Accelerate Pre-Existing Health Conditions

People who have allergies and other pre-existing medical conditions are at a very high risk of accelerating their sickness if they come into contact with the dog poop odor.

See also: Best trash can for dog poop

Is Not Picking Up Dog Poop Illegal In Many Places? 

Now let’s discuss this issue in depth.

As we’ve already stated, it is illegal not to pick up your dog’s poop, especially in public places like parks and roads.

Why is this so?

Given the toxic nature of the poop, there is a likelihood of disease transmission if people and pets come into contact with the waste.

Thus, the majority of states have implemented the pooper scooper law to protect the environment as well as the health of the residents.

Is not picking up dog poop illegal

The pooper scooper law is a regulation that requires all pet owners to clean up fecal waste from their dogs in public and private properties.

The public and private places to observe include sidewalks, parks, schools, beaches, and even your neighbor’s yard.

However, in some states like Seattle, the law requires dog owners to pick up dog poop even in their own yards. This means you can’t leave that dog poop in your backyard to act as fertilizer anymore.

Moreover, dog owners are required to mind the health of the workers by ensuring the poop is well wrapped in a plastic bag before throwing it into the trash can.

This is also a precautionary measure to avoid the chances of disease transmission to the workers and people who use public places amenities like parks.

Breaching The Pooper Scooper Law By Not Picking Up Dog Poop

In countries like the United States and the United Kingdom, the pooper scooper law is taken into serious consideration.

If you fail to pick up your dog’s poop in public places, you can be charged a fine of up to $2,000.

For instance, residents of Washington D.C are required to maintain a high level of environmental hygiene if they have a dog. A person risks being fined between $150 and $2000 for failing to adhere to the law.

is not picking up dog poop illegal

The law states that:

No person, owning, keeping or having custody of a dog in the District, except seeing eye dogs, shall allow or permit dog waste to remain in any public place.

The fine is however less in Miami, which is about $50. Kindly check the law requirements in your respective states if you have a dog or any other animal pet.

How Not To Breach The Law – Pick Up After Your Dog

The law requires that if your dog poops in a public place, you should pick up the poop and take it home with you to dispose of in a trash can or use a public trash can.

This means that you need to bring a few bags for picking the poop when taking your dog to the park or for a walk.

I came across these AmazonBasics unscented dog poop bags that come with a dispenser and a leash clip. The small dispenser is very convenient for the outdoors because it allows you to pick a bag easily when you need to use it.

This is a strict requirement in order to avoid polluting the environment and putting public health at risk.

Failure to obey this directive may lead to arrest and persecution in accordance with the pooper scooper law.

It is therefore important you bring a small dog poop trash can with you or dog poop bags when out with your dog.

Pooper Scooper Laws In Different States And Counties

Penalties for violating the pooper scooper laws vary based on where you live. A Government first implemented this law in New York City. It has since influenced the enforcement of similar laws in other states and counties.

Pooper Scooper Laws In Different States And Counties

The most prominent are California, Florida, Illinois, Texas, and Washington D.C. Such laws cover the basic rule that owners must pick up any fecal matter left behind by a dog.

In addition, it dictates how owners can discard the poop in a sanitary manner.

1. California

The canine waste law has not been enforced throughout California. But, specific cities and counties do take this law seriously. San Francisco followed NYC closely with the implementation of the pooper scooper law.

Pleasanton, San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles, and Long Beach require citizens to follow this rule along with S.F.  

2. Florida

Florida has also imposed this law in several cities and counties. Some examples are Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Tallahassee, Hillsborough County, Seminole County, and Escambia County.

While some of these simply talk about poop duties, others even have leash laws.  

3. Illinois

Laws in Chicago are not just applicable to public spaces. Collected poop on private properties can also incur heavy fines for dog owners. Owners must clean out their yards regularly and follow disposal protocols, too.

Poop must be securely bagged and discarded in a closed container. Dog poop attracts rodents, and a lidded container ensures the rats stay out.

4. Texas

Waste Laws in Texas are not just applicable to dogs in Texas. Cat owners also need to be wary of this law in Austin.

As per the law, dog or cat poop must be promptly removed from public and private property by the owner. Failure to do so can potentially draw heavy fines.  

5. Washington D. C.

Pooper scooper laws in the district of Washington D.C. are laid down very clearly. Owners must clean private properties of dog poop daily! Disposing of dog poop in storm drains, or your neighbor’s bin is illegal.

Plus, D.C. even mentions a clear exception for picking up after your dog. If your dog is a registered seeing-eye dog, you are not legally bound to pick up after it. 

List Of Fines You’ll Pay For Pooper Scooper Law Violation In Some States

  • New York – Violation of the law in the first city to implement it can incur you a fine of $250
  • California – Not following the law will set you back by $320 in San Francisco. But, expect a fine of up to $500 when in Los Angeles or Long Beach. Repeated offenses can cost you $750 in Pleasanton. 
  • D.C – The D.C. district fines lay between $150 – $2,000
  • Illinois – A fine of $50 – $500 can be exacted in Chicago.
  • Texas – Austin and Houston levy fines of up to $500 based on the type of offense.
  • Pennsylvania – A fine of $300 is the rule in Philadelphia
  • Florida – Miami has one of the lowest penalties at $50
  • Washington – The fine in Seattle for disregarding pooper scooper laws ranges from $54 – $109
  • Colorado – Denver residents can expect to shell out $125 for poop transgressions
  • Massachusetts – Fines range from $50 – $100 in Boston city
  • Maryland – On the more expensive side, dog owners in Baltimore could pay up to $1,000

See also: How to dispose of dog poop without scooping 


1. Can you sue someone for not picking up dog poop?

Technically, yes. Especially if it is your private property, the dog poop is discarded. But, you may not find the outcome as satisfying.

You might struggle with finding solid proof against a particular dog or owner.

But, the settlement for the issue could be as low as $1. Filing an official complaint with concerned authorities is more likely to lead to a better outcome.

2. Is there a fine for not picking up dog poop?

Yes, you can expect to be fined for not picking up after your dog.

This applies in any city or county that seriously enforces the pooper scooper law. These fines can range anywhere between $50 to $2000.

Your fine will depend on your location and the type of law violation. For example, repeated offenses can incur larger penalties.

Multiple offenses like failure to pick up and improper disposal can also add up the numbers.

3. Can you get in trouble for not picking up dog poop?

Not picking up your dog’s poop can get you into trouble; With your neighbors and the authorities. It’s illegal in many places and unethical in all.

Remember, the fine is yours to pay if the dog was in your possession during the infringement. So, whether you own the dog or walk it, the poop is your responsibility.

4. Is it a crime to not pick up dog poop?

Picking up after your dog is the law in most places. If you fail to do so, you will be fined. You’re committing an offense punishable by law. So, not picking up your dog’s poop would be a crime.


To answer your question is not picking up dog poop illegal? Yes, it is illegal as outlined in the pooper scooper law. Dog poop can be a threat to the environment and to your health if not properly disposed of.

It contains various species of bacteria that transmit diseases to human beings and other animals. Furthermore, it can contaminate the environment, water sources, and other delicate areas.

Thus, failing to pick up dog poop at public paces is very much illegal.

The poop scooper law that has been implemented across various states has helped to regulate how you deposit dog poop and failure to follow these guidelines may attract heavy fines.

2 thoughts on “Is NOT Picking Up Dog Poop Illegal in Public & Private Property? [3 Facts]”

  1. I have several neighbors who walk their dogs regularly. They let their dogs poop on my lawn and don’t pick it up. Every time I have mowed my lawn there is fresh feces. My wife and I suffer from health conditions and the smell of dog feces causes us to get sick. Can these people be sued for their negligence?

    1. Hi Peter, sorry for what you and your wife are going through. Yes, they can be sued but you will need the help of an experienced attorney. Evidence of the dogs pooping on your lawn (like pictures) would come in handy.

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