The city of Plymouth this week confused some residents with a public reminder that advised calling 911 to report people who don't pick up after their dogs.
Although such a call would not send squad cars speeding to the scene, sirens blaring and lights flashing, Plymouth does not limit 911 calls to emergencies, said Emilie Kastner, the city's communications coordinator. Calls go to a dispatcher, who notifies either officers on duty or community service officials, depending on the urgency.
"The dispatch operator will prioritize and triage and route the call accordingly," Kastner said.
The impression that 911 should be reserved for emergencies "prevents some residents from calling 911 for something they don't view as an emergency," even in situations that warrant it, Kastner said. A March 31 city news release encouraged "residents who have public safety concerns or observe violations" to call either 911 or a nonemergency number, 952-258-5321.
The release noted that neglecting to pick up dog droppings or letting a dog roam off leash are violations of city ordinances.
Owners of unleashed dogs could be cited with a misdemeanor and fined up to $128. Failing to pick up after a pet would not trigger charges or fines, even though the waste can threaten nearby lakes.
"In addition to bringing dog bags on a walk, it's important to regularly clean up dog waste in the yard to protect water quality," Water Resources Supervisor Ben Scharenbroich said in the release.
To help keep canines and humans on their best behavior, the city has created a volunteer "dog etiquette ambassador" position, which according to the release will involve handing out dog waste bags and educational materials about the pet ordinances once social distancing measures are lifted.
Those interested in applying should e-mail email@example.com.
Katy Read • 612-673-4583