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City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) joined the students at PS 150 and community members last Friday at the school to kick off a campaign to get Sunnyside residents to pick up after their dogs.
The children of the school, at 40-01 43rd Ave. in Sunnyside, drew posters warning residents to clean up the mess or face a $250 fine.
A best poster was chosen from each grade and Van Bramer is allowing residents to vote on their favorite, which will be replicated and posted in windows across the neighborhood.
“What is more compelling than having children tell adults in the neighborhood, ‘Do the right thing’?” Van Bramer asked.
The new campaign came from inside the school. PS 150 Principal Carmen Parache said a parent e-mailed her about the large amount of dog poop around the neighborhood and the building. An employee of the school brought the concern to the attention of Van Bramer and the contest was born.
Both Van Bramer and Parache said the campaign was both important and a good civics lesson for the children.
“We need to take action when we see things that are not being done properly,” Parache said.
About 280 students entered the contest. Many of the designs incorporated pictures of dogs or dog poop and pleas to clean up after dogs. Many mentioned the fine and the law. A finalist was chosen from each of the five grades.
Residents can vote at jimmyvanbramer.com or the councilman’s photo gallery on his fan page.
Van Bramer said because the “curb your dog” law is admittedly hard for both the NYPD and the city Department of Sanitation to enforce — dog owners essentially need to be caught in the act of leaving the poop behind — it is important to try to get dog owners to change their behavior.
He also emphasized the law was not meant to be anti-dog or anti-dog owner, but to make dog owners be responsible.
The Sunnyside United Dog Society, which sometimes runs poop cleanups in the neighborhood, said it was grateful for the campaign.
“You kids are amazing,” said SUDS member Janette Remak, who came with her Pekinese dog Shanghai. “I look around and see all these great signs and it really makes me feel good.”
She said Shanghai had gotten E. coli recently, believed to have come from another dog’s poop left out in the sun, so she said this is a serious matter.
Sunnyside Gardens resident Mike Novak, who does not own a dog, said he also worried about the dog poop getting on the neighborhood’s toys and scooters when children go out to play, making the cleanliness of the streets even more important.
“We all appreciate your help in bringing this problem to light,” he said.
Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4564.
©2013 Community Newspaper Group
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