NYC Parks Celebrates “Pooper Scooper” Law Anniversary with 1,000 Canine Waste Bag Dispensers

By Hannah Reale

It’s the 40th anniversary of NYC’s “Pooper Scooper” law, which mandates that New Yorkers pick up after their pups. To honor the glorious occasion, NYC Parks announced in a press release on Thursday that they’ve installed 1,000 canine waste bag dispensers—hopefully helping forgetful New Yorkers who find themselves in a pinch.

“Nothing ruins a nice day in the park like stepping in a pile of poo,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J Silver, FAICP, in the press release. “Be responsible—don’t dump and ditch. With these bags, there’s no excuse for leaving your dog’s business behind.”

The dispensers are spread across all five boroughs, with a higher concentration in Brooklyn and Manhattan, and the “dispenser locations were chosen based on sites where Parks Inspectors regularly found high levels of canine waste.” About 200 dispensers can be found across our borough, but the closest ones are in Riverside Park, Central Park, and Morningside Park, primarily concentrated around the dog runs. 

In the release, the department noted that the project cost $86,000 and that the dispensers will be “refilled regularly by NYC Parks employees.”

So happy 40th to an initiative that’s tried to make the Upper West Side’s sidewalks a little bit cleaner! (You know, apart from the garbage bags and rats.)

NEWS, OUTDOORS | 27 comments | permalink
    1. michael says:

      “the dispensers will be ‘refilled regularly by NYC Parks employees’”

      Well, one can at least hope.

    2. 9d8b7988045e4953a882 says:

      Unfortunately, this law is not enforced. I often see dog owners allowing their dogs to defecate on the sidewalks. Even when they clean it up, it leaves smears. It gets pretty disgusting until we have a good rain to wash it away.

      I see a lot of dog owners also allowing their dogs to urinate on the sides of buildings, which runs onto the sidewalks.

      • NotImpressed says:

        That’s part of living in a city.
        Get over it.

        • Richard says:

          Sorry, having dog poop and urine all over the place should not be part of living anywhere. People are pigs and if they decide to own a pet have the courtesy to clean it up. But if you’re ok with it maybe you should put a sign in front of your building telling all owners to let their dos crap there.

          • NotImpressed says:

            Dogs poop in front of my building all the time.
            Of course the owner should pick it up. If there’s some staining, so be it.
            City sidewalks, subway stations, etc. are dirty for all kinds of reasons.
            That’s a reality. If you don’t like it, the city isn’t for you.

          • Steph says:

            I agree! I was just in Tokyo (lots of people, lots of dogs) and I was amazed at how clean the city was! Not a scrap of paper on the ground to be found, let alone all of the other stuff we see on NYC streets. There is a high regard for cleanliness and respect for the people around you. I’m not sure how they handle dog poop, but somehow they manage because I didn’t see any of that either!

    3. dannyboy says:

      “To honor the glorious occasion, NYC Parks announced in a press release on Thursday” is later contradicted by “dispenser locations were chosen based on sites where Parks Inspectors regularly found high levels of canine waste.”

      We’re Celebrating the increase in canine waste lately?

      Press Releases! Huxley saw this coming.

    4. js says:

      Ironically, since about 2010 and as the West Side has become much more affluent, there seems to be a marked increase in dog poop and pee on sidewalks and by buildings.

      The poop is frequently in the middle of the sidewalk indicating the person made no attempt to curb the dog.

      Regularly see people allowing dogs to pee on churches, restaurants, stores, residential buildings etc.

      People who mostly seem to be affluent 20-30 something suburban transplants…..
      Not clear if they don’t know?
      Or if they just don’t care?

      • dannyboy says:

        “Not clear if they don’t know?
        Or if they just don’t care?”

        Or purposeful. You observed the affluence motivating the intentional disrespecting of their lessers.

      • MJ says:

        They don’t care. And neither do the older dog owners in the neighborhood. Dog owners reek of entitlement. Same with bicyclists.

        I’ve seen more dogs on leashes finally – I assume because of the rumored dog snatchers.

        Embarrass the hell out of the owner next time you see them leave poop behind. Heck, if you’ve got a spare napkin in your pocket, pick up the poop and hand it to the owner, telling them they dropped something.

      • A Westsider says:

        Totally agree js. Especially on West End Ave turning the corner onto 70th street. It’s just disgusting. Folks, remember to take your shoes off before you walk into your home.

    5. BillyNYC says:

      Yes I have been seeing the baggie dispensers around town and at the dog runs and I think it’s a wonderful thing they are doing but most of them are all empty?
      What’s the sense of having the dog baggie dispenser when they don’t fill them?? Or the cheap doggie people taking the baggies home with them? And if the people are taking them that’s pretty low and cheap of them.

      I have checked with the Taddy Roosevelt Parks people and was told that nobody was assigned or have been given supplies to keep them filled… so what’s the sense of even having them if they’re going to be kept empty…

      I traveled to many US and Inernational cities and seen maney dog baggie dispensers everywhere including the small towns and they are filled and kept well supplied.

      • dannyboy says:

        “so what’s the sense of even having them if they’re going to be kept empty…”

        You must have missed this part of the UWS report: “In the release, the department”

        Press Releases touting achievements are an obvious tip off.

        • BillyNYC says:

          Exactly what I’m saying —- that’s just like saying what’s the sense of having bike lanes when the bikes don’t use them and run over babies and kids in the street and they don’t yield to school buses!!!!

    6. Scott says:

      Well, they installed a couple of these in Riverside Park around 103rd sometime back. The first day, they were filled with bags and I was hopeful. Since then, no refills, except from the odd bag stuffed in there by a passer-by.

    7. Rob G. says:

      It’s silly to celebrate a law that nobody seems to comply with. At any rate, these dispensers should be on the sidewalks, not just in the parks.

      • Dog owner says:

        You obviously didn’t live here in the 70s. The amount of poop on the street now from some bad actors pales in comparison to the amount on the streets before the law. You have no idea. Yes we need enforcement but don’t say the law isn’t helpful. Before the law, it was your RIGHT to just leave poop in the middle of the sidewalk. You would have 10-20 poops per block. Imagine people on their phones now trying to avoid that. It would rain and literally a whole stretch of sidewalk would turn into a brown river.

        • dannyboy says:

          “Imagine people on their phones now trying to avoid that.”

          Wait a second! If there’s dog poop there’s no cellphoning? No distracted walkers, runners bikers? No one awaiting instructions from the private little robot?

          I got to rethink the tradeoff. Sounds like hygiene vs safety. I do believe in “safety first”!

    8. Old Judge says:

      So … more affluent; more effluent.

    9. Richard says:

      Love this law, and I would follow it even if it wasn’t a law, simply as a common courtesy; it’s the right thing to do.

    10. robert says:

      While I think this is a good idea I strongly doubt the they will be refilled in a timely manner. Unforuntantly in places where these have been put some dog owners take them home to use themselves for feature dog walks.

      As someone that has a huge 80lbs English Lab, my third one, I AWAYS have a number of baggies on me. More than I need just in case. I always feel that if I step in poop at least it was not my dogs. I’m also very careful as to where he pees, not right in front of a building entrance food store etc

      But for those of you that have children be careful in the grass areas of the parks. Sad to say so dog owners don’t pick up the poop in grass. I would never walk around barefoot in the streets and/or parks. Not just poop but many needles broken glass etc

    11. J says:

      Depressing and demoralizing to see rich folks let their dogs poop and pee everywhere – except their own buildings.

      The Dwight nursery school (Riverside South/Freedom Place) had to put up signs asking people not to let dogs pee on the school building….

    12. Chi says:

      How about some signs that define curb?

    13. Joey says:

      More plastic pags to polite our rivers, lakes & oceans.

    14. Paul G says:

      I had just moved to NYC in 1978, living in the East Village, on East 4th. On 5th was the “NYPD Blue” police precinct. On 3rd was the Hells Angels. I figured one way or the other I was protected. I was here on an internship, slated to head back to Pennsylvania in six months.

      When the pooper scooper law came into effect, I remember cheering — as others have posted, the sidewalks had poop everywhere. It was difficult getting through a day with clean shoes. Think about the black spots left behind by chewing gum users, that is what it felt like with the dog poop.

      The day after the law was in force, I saw one of the Hells Angels in his leather jacket and big beard, walking his dog, pooper scooper in hand. I thought, well, he’s a Hells Angel, but he’s a good neighbor.

      I never went back to Pennsylvania — I am also celebrating my 40th anniversary here in NYC.