Picking up after your pets: a burden or responsibility?

Shawn Penn, Southwood Clinic veterinarian
Shawn Penn, Southwood Clinic veterinarian
Rhonda McLendon, Director of Lufkin Animal Control
Rhonda McLendon, Director of Lufkin Animal Control

By Whitney Grunder - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – Mind your own business unless it's your pet that's causing the problem.

There are no ordinances in Lufkin or Angelina County telling owners to pick up after pets.

Still, leaving it behind could have some unpleasant consequences.

Kevin Martin takes his dog Sable for an evening stroll. Martin says he always cleans up after his furry companion.

"You definitely don't want to step in it," he said.

It is part of pet ownership, but not everyone follows the unspoken code.

"Maybe it's been an accepted thing here because there haven't been any regulations for it," said Director of Lufkin Animal Control, Rhonda McLendon. "We don't have any specific ordinances that are for dogs that relieve themselves in public areas or are on private property."

She says there haven't been any complaints.

"It's not been on people's priority list I guess."

Dog owners say they do see it happen, but can't always catch the culprit in the act.

"If you're going to be that lazy with your animal you don't need it," said dog owner Cheryl Lee.

While there are no laws against pets, veterinarian Shawn Penn says there are consequences.

"The biggest concern is obviously parasites that dogs or cats can have. Some of those are transmissible to people," said Penn.

He says owners can better protect themselves as well as they're pets by getting them de-wormed once a month.

Many apartment complexes and neighborhood associations have their own rules.

"Since we put the doggy stations in, we have noticed a definite decrease in people not picking up after their pets," said property manager at Shadow Creek Apartments, Charmaine Dembo.

Dembo says there are stations throughout the complex, as well as a doggy park where animals can run free. If owners decide not to use these resources, they could pay a $50 fine.

It's a simple solution. Pick up after your pet so that others don't have to.

Owners say make their business, your business.

There is a leash law inside the Lufkin city limits, in addition to sanitation rules which require pet owners to keep their yards sanitary.

McLendon says if enough complaints were filed about owners not cleaning up after their pets, a new ordinance could be adopted.

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