By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — Annie Schieber, owner of A Little Slice of Italy on Main Street in Colfax, first became aware of a problem on the sidewalk in front of her restaurant from a customer.
It was Thursday, June 18, 7:30 p.m.
A few blocks north, Music in the Park was in full swing at Tower Park with a packed crowd listening to the music of “Hickory.”
The problem, as it turns out, was a pile of fresh dog feces right in front of the steps of the restaurant. And no dog or dog owner in sight.
Schieber was livid.
“The least they could have done was come in the restaurant and ask for a paper towel or a Baggie to clean it up. We would have been happy to put it in the garbage for them,” Schieber said.
Schieber, a dog owner herself, says she understands that you cannot always control where your dog is going to decide to move its bowels.
What you can control, however, is cleaning up after your dog.
But here’s the thing.
Not only is not cleaning up after your dog disrespectful to others who may use the sidewalk or disrespectful to businesses in the downtown area — it also is a violation of village ordinances.
Ordinance 7-1-10, the full text of which is available on the village’s website at www.villageofcolfaxwi.org, states: “Removal of Fecal Matter. The owner or person in charge of any dog, cat, horse, or other animal shall not permit solid fecal matter of such animal to deposit on any street, alley or other public or private property, unless such matter is immediately removed therefrom by said owner or person in charge. This Section shall not apply to a person who is visually or physically handicapped.”
According to Lynn Niggemann, village administrator-clerk-treasurer, the fine for a first offense of Ordinance 7-1-10 is $200.50. The fine for a second offense is $263.50.
Schieber said she asked to review Cedar Country Cooperative’s security video from the evening of June 18, but unfortunately, the sun was at such an angle at that time of the evening, all that was visible was glare from the sun.
Of course, it is possible the person walking the dog was physically or visually impaired. And if that was, indeed, the case, the person would be exempt from the village’s ordinance.
Still, even days after the incident, Schieber was upset.
“That’s not the kind of thing people want to have to step around when they’re coming to the restaurant or leaving,” she said, noting that the smell alone was probably enough to make people lose their appetites.
Village residents should note that cleaning up after your dog applies to all property in the village, both public and private.
In addition to owning and operating A Little Slice of Italy, Schieber serves as a trustee on the Colfax Village Board.