Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pay $150 if you don't pick up your dog's poo in Curtis Hixson Park and downtown Tampa

DOWNTOWN — Some might think of them as tiny trophies showing the success of urban renewal here.

Others see it for what it really is — dog poop.

As people start to fill in downtown developments, their pets have started to fill planters, parks and more with leftovers of a most unpleasant kind.

And now the city is putting to work an ordinance that has been on the books for years. Until recently, however, there was little need for enforcement downtown. Officials now are reminding pet owners to pick up after their dogs or face a $150 fine.

"The issue is that we have more residents downtown than we ever have had before," said Paul Ayres, spokesman for the Downtown Tampa Partnership. He estimates about 3,000 people live downtown.

Of the dog droppings, he said, "It shows that people are living here and that they have animals. It's a weird way, but it's showing progress."

Robin Cahill is part of that growth. She moved into the SkyPoint condo tower about a year and a half ago. Nearly every day Cahill, 45, takes KoKo Poco and Ringo, her two chihuahuas, to the Riverwalk dog run at Curtis Hixon Park.

They get excited now when she mentions going for a walk.

"We always pick up," said Cahill. "It's not that hard."

Other owners aren't as responsible.

"Some only clean up when there is someone around," she said.

Todd Marrs knows there are dog owners who don't pick up after their pet.

"I hate that," he said, as a black plastic bag hung from the leash tethering Roscoe, his 10-year-old Shih Tzu.

Marrs, who has lived in SkyPoint for two years, said he did not know about the increased enforcement but hopes the threat of a fine is enough to persuade owners to pick up after their pets.

"I really hope people straighten up about it," Marrs said as he walked Roscoe through the riverfront promenade. "I would really hate for such a nice park to get ruined."

The city has set up "pooch stations" along the Riverwalk dog run and in Curtis Hixon Park. At the stations, pet owners can throw away dog waste or get bags to take along on their walk.

Jake Slater, director of code enforcement, said officers stepped up efforts about six weeks ago to make owners obey the "removal of animal excrement" ordinance as part of the "Canine Litter Campaign."

The fine is $150 for owners caught not picking up after their pets. Subsequent fines are $300, then $450 for the third offense and any thereafter. If the fine goes unpaid, a warrant will be issued and the owner could face jail time. So far, though, Slater said no one has gotten a ticket. Code enforcement officers are just giving verbal warnings and hanging up fliers.

Like Ayres, Slater sees good in all this.

"I think it's kind of neat to have the people downtown with their dogs outside," he said. "I think it's great for downtown Tampa."

But the law is the law. So code enforcement officers are on the lookout mostly in the early morning and after work hours.

"Those are the prime dog-walking times," Slater said.

Jared Leone can be reached at (813) 226-3435 or

Pay $150 if you don't pick up your dog's poo in Curtis Hixson Park and downtown Tampa 03/25/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 24, 2010 5:49pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Live from St. Pete: Kriseman, Baker square off in TV debate


    ST. PETERSBURG — The mayoral race goes into the home stretch starting Tuesday.

  2. Five ideas for cooking with ground turkey


    I rarely cook with ground beef. Ground turkey became the go-to ground protein in my kitchen years ago. As meats go, it's pretty ideal: not a ton of raw meat juices, easy enough to cook in a pinch, more flavor than ground chicken. I sub turkey in for just about any recipe that calls for ground beef, except on …

    Siraracha Turkey Skewers are accompanied by jasmine rice and carrot-cucumber slaw.
  3. SOCom moves to bring growing Warrior Games for injured troops to Tampa


    TAMPA — The military established special games for ill and injured troops and veterans in 2010, and the annual event drew crowds of up to 5,000 to the bases that hosted them — until this summer.

    Medically retired Marine Corps Sgt. Mike Nicholson of Tampa participates in the 2017 Warrior Games in Chicago on July 2.
  4. The Daystarter: Tampa courts Warrior Games; McCain returns for health care vote; Kriseman, Baker debate tonight; Jones on McCoy's puzzling pattern of tantrums


    Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.

    President Donald Trump on Monday urged senators to vote in favor of an overhaul of the Affordable Care Act. [ Washington Post]
  5. Trump sprinkles political attacks into Scout Jamboree speech

    GLEN JEAN, W.Va. — Ahead of President Donald Trump's appearance Monday at the National Scout Jamboree in West Virginia, the troops were offered some advice on the gathering's official blog: Fully hydrate. Be "courteous" and "kind." And avoid the kind of divisive chants heard during the 2016 campaign such as "build …

    President Donald Trump addresses the Boy Scouts of America's 2017 National Scout Jamboree at the Summit Bechtel National Scout Reserve in Glen Jean, W.Va., July 24, 2017. [New York Times]