Skip to Content

Do You Legally Have To Pick Up Dog Poop?

Do You Legally Have To Pick Up Dog Poop?

You get home from work one day and your furry friend greets you at the door as usually all excited because he knows it’s time for your ritualistic evening walk.

You quickly change and are soon walking down the street with him when he suddenly decides to go to the bathroom.

That’s when it hits you—in your hurry to leave the house, you forgot to carry the poop scooper.

 As you begin wondering what to do, you also start thinking of what the law says about the whole situation—is it illegal to leave the dog poop that your dog has just deposited by the road?

And if yes, what are the legal ramifications if any?

Pooper Scooper Law

Pooper scooper laws are ordinances adopted by several jurisdictions that require dog owners to pick up and properly dispose of their pet’s solid waste when out in public places.

 Pooper scooper laws first began popping up in the 1970s, with New York City being one of the pioneers in implementing such legislation.  

These laws are designed to keep public areas clean and safe and to prevent the spread of disease.

In addition to protecting the environment, these laws are also there to ensure other people are not inconvenienced.

Many cities and towns have their poop-scooping ordinances, with fines ranging from $50 to $2000 for violators.

In some cases, owners may be required to purchase a special license or permit to allow their dog to relieve itself in public.

While most people comply with these laws, there are always a few who do not, resulting in a messy and unsanitary situation for everyone involved.

Can You Get Fined For Not Picking Up Dog Poop?

In most states, there is no specific law that requires pet owners to pick up after their dogs.

However, many cities and towns have enacted ordinances that make it a violation to not clean up after your pet.

Some cities, such as New York City, even have designated “pooper scooper” enforcement officers who patrol parks and issue fines to irresponsible pet owners.

As such, failure to pick up after your dog can result in fines or penalties for littering or creating a public nuisance.

Here are some examples of top cities with fines for not picking up after your dog:

CityFine in USD
Washington D.C150-2,000
Baltimore, Maryland100-1,000
Austin, Texas500
Chicago, Illinois500
Houston Texas75-500
Los Angeles, California500
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania300
San Francisco, California320
New York City250
Denver, Colorado125
Seattle, Washington54-109
Boston, Massachusetts50-100
Miami, Florida50

Aside from potential legal consequences, leaving dog waste on the ground can also harm the environment and poses a health risk to both humans and animals.

Bacteria and parasites found in feces can contaminate water sources and spread disease.

Learn more: Is Dog Poop Good For Anything?

Make sure you clean up after your pet and dispose of their waste properly to be a responsible pet owner and community member.

Always have bags readily available when walking your dog, and if possible, try to use biodegradable options to minimize environmental impact.

Being a responsible pet owner means taking care of all aspects of your furry friend’s well-being, including their bathroom habits.

So, always do your part and pick up after your pooch!


Is It Illegal To Put Dog Poop In The Garbage?

Is It Illegal To Leave Dog Poop In Your Yard?

10 Best Biodegradable Dog Poop Bags

Can You Sue Someone For Not Picking Up Dog Poop?

How Often Should a Chihuahua Poop

Yes, you can sue someone for not picking up dog poop in the public.

There is a good chance the person’s defense might be that the poop didn’t cause you any harm but you have a strong case, especially if there are specific pooper scooper laws in your city.

You will have an even stronger case if the dog pooped on your private property because that will be a civil lawsuit.

The law also allows you to sue a neighbor who allows his dog to poop in his backyard.

This is because you have a right to live in an odor-free environment and if your neighbor violates this right, then you have a right to sue on grounds of private nuisance.

 However, the burden of proof will be upon you because you will have to demonstrate to the court that the poop of your neighbor’s dog interfered with your quality of life.

If you are a landlord, you may also have grounds to sue your tenant for not picking up dog poop.

This is however only true if the lease agreement had such a clause.

However, most lease agreements actually stipulate the fine amount so it may not need to go to that extent—except in cases where the tenant refuses to pay the fine as per the signed lease.

You may also want to check: What to Do When a Neighbor’s Dog Poops In Your Yard

How Do I Report Someone Not Picking Up Dog Poop?

First, try to talk to the person directly and politely ask them to clean up their dog’s waste.

It might just turn out to be an innocent mistake that they will gladly take care of.

However, if it is apparent that the person is neglecting to pick up the poop knowingly, then you may want to report the person to the authorities for action.

You may start by contacting the landlord or property management if the incident happened on private property.

 They may have rules and regulations in place for such situations.

 In such a case, the person will not only be reprimanded but also surcharged which should be enough deterrent for them.

If it however occurred on public property, you can contact your local animal control agency or non-emergency police department to file a complaint.

Be sure to provide as much information and evidence as possible, including the location and description of the person/pet in question.

In cases of repeated or severe neglect, you may also consider consulting with a lawyer for options on legal action such as filing for a restraining order to keep the person and their pet away from the affected property.

Always be sure to prioritize your safety when dealing with confrontations and remember to try and work towards a peaceful resolution.

Final Verdict

Overall, while there is no specific federal law that requires pet owners to pick up after their dogs, most cities and towns have laws and regulations in place.

Non-compliance with such laws could attract fines of anything from $50- $2,000 depending on your location.

In addition, you may even get sued by affected parties.

But aside from the legal ramifications, you should also be concerned with the health effects of not disposing of dog poop properly.

The poop contains salmonella and other disease-causing bacteria that can spread to humans and other animals, causing illness.

So, just be a responsible pet owner and clean up after your dog. 


12 Best Self Bagging Pooper Scooper to Buy for Your Dog

As an Amazon Associate, we may receive a small commission from qualifying purchases but at no extra cost to you. Learn more.  Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of, Inc, or its affiliates.