Dog owners in Mentor could face penalty depending on where pet goes to bathroom

MENTOR, Ohio - Policing your dog's bathroom business will be the law starting next month in Mentor.

Although a tough one to enforce, officials in Mentor say they received enough complaints to put a leash on the issue of dogs relieving themselves on private property.

"Sometimes she just squats and goes," said Shannon Coyne about her excitable golden Labrador puppy. "I think it's a little harsh because it's, you know, you can't tell them 'no, don't go there, go here;' they don't know any better."

City council argues dogs owners do. The new rule says pet owners must keep their dogs in the tree-lawn area or right of way, instead of allowing dogs to roam into private lawns to do their business. According to city council, in areas without sidewalks, the law states its 10' feet from the edge of street allowance.

In a statement, Bruce Landeg, the council vice president, explains the rationale behind the decision:

"...In a few incidents pets on popular retractable leashes have been allowed to roam onto private residences up to twenty feet. Sometimes dogs alarm people and/or damage lawns and landscaping if not kept under control...The city is giving property owners the right to say that you cannot continue to do this on my property."

Those in favor of the change say it's necessary, especially when considering how many dog owners do not clean up after their pet.

"Even here at the dog park, you know, you're supposed to pick up after your dogs; it irritates the rest of us that there are people who don't do that either," said Sharon Jarold.

Landeg says the first offense is a misdemeanor of the fourth degree but the city does not see enforcement as a typical action; instead, it is counting on voluntarily compliance.

"I think it's ridiculous; people need to lighten up and maybe they need to get a dog," said Susan Garvey with a chuckle.

The law goes into effect in mid-June.