PORTLAND, Texas — Portland officials say they've noticed area dog owners not cleaning up after their pets, leaving a messy situation for everyone else.
Kaia Park is one of the most popular places in Portland for dog owners to take their pets. But lately, calls have been coming in to report people not picking up after their dogs. And the City of Portland says the reports aren’t limited to dog parks.
"Whether you're taking your dog to a public dog park; if you have a private dog park in your apartment complex, and we have a lot of those around, or even on city streets -- if you take your dog on a walk, you're still responsible for picking up after that pet," said City of Portland public information officer Mona Gandy.
Not only is picking up after your dog the right and polite thing to do, but it's also state law.
"One of the things people don't understand is, we don't have people who are designated to pick up after your pet,” Gandy said. “So we have to pull employees from other jobs and use city resources to pick up after pets when other people don't."
Joseph Moebius uses the park and said that he’s more than a few people who don’t think cleaning up after their pet isn’t their responsibility.
“I'd say more than half the people don't pick up after their dogs," he said.
In Portland, not cleaning up after your pet is a Class C misdemeanor, and the state-level fine can go up to $500.
"It's just disease potential,” Moebius said. “So there's always a chance that your dog is going to get into something they shouldn't get into, but it's also just a general lack of respect for the area."
Portland officials and residents are hopeful this message will encourage people to clean up after their pets to provide a safe and clean area for others to enjoy.
"The more people that know this is a law, the more compliance we are going to get," Gandy said.
A city employee visits Kaia Park once a week to clean up, but the city is hoping more pet owners will start picking up after their own pets.