Scoop the poop — it’s the law.
One PS 150 student will have his or her poster, imploring dog owners to pick up after their pooches, mass produced and hung in stores and on public bulletin boards in Long Island City, Sunnyside and Woodside via a new “Curb Your Dog” campaign ignited by Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside).
He showed off the top five posters made by Matthew Sebastian, pre-kindergarten; Angelina Yegoryan, first grade; Sophia Aguirre, second grade; and Alex Cazan and Isabel Lourdes, both of the fourth grade last Friday, whittling them down from 280 submissions by Sunnyside PS 150 students. Readers can vote for their favorite of the five finalists at Jimmyvanbramer.com. Each poster references the current law 13.10, reiterates the $250 fine associated with the law and says why the student artist would like dog owners to curb their dogs.
“We have been battling dog poop on sidewalks and streets for too long,” Van Bramer said at the event, which was attended by dozens of proud students holding their contributions, dog owners and their furry friends and residents of Sunnyside Gardens, one who said his or her area of the neighborhood has become an unofficial dog run.
“Most dog owners are not guilty of leaving their pet’s poop behind,” Van Bramer said. “The irresponsible dog owners are really hard to catch and the law is hard to enforce. They have to be caught in the act.”
The idea sprang from a parent email to PS 150 Principal Carmen Parache decrying the amount of poop around the school.
Parache teamed with pre-kindergarten teacher Erin Gursynski, a Sunnyside resident as well, who wanted to expand the project beyond making posters for just the school, but also to teach students a lesson in civics.
“I’m not the only one bothered by it,” Gursynski said, adding that with a call to the councilman the project became more.
Her pre-kindergarteners attend class in the PS 150 annex down the block. The neighborhood’s dog poop problem poses a real health issue to the little ones who sometimes don’t know better, Gursynski said.
She called up the councilman, who worked with the school and the Sunnyside United Dog Society, a dedicated neighborhood group that hosts several events and leads an annual spring street cleanup, to launch the campaign.
“We have tried on our own to clean up the problem, but we need help,” said SUDS member Jeannette Remak, whose dog, Shanghai, contracted E. coli from coming in contact with leftover dog feces last summer.
Wespaw Pets store also donated 5,000 disposable biodegradable dog poop bags. The free bags are available at Van Bramer’s district office at 47-01 Queens Blvd., suite 205, in Sunnyside.