Dog walkers beware: if you leave your dog’s waste behind in one New Hampshire community, you could be taken to court and face a $1,000 fine.
Rye police said the measure was necessary after high levels of fecal bacteria was detected in the Parsons Creek Watershed.
A lot of residents in the seacoast town of Rye said they were shocked at how expensive the fine is.
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"A thousand is a lot of money," said resident Lisa Lombard.
It’s a hefty fine for leaving her dog’s waste behind, but since Lombard says she would never do that, she supports the penalty if it means cleaning up her neighborhood.
"Nobody wants to step in dog waste, nobody wants waste in the water," she said.
There are new signs in the town of Rye alerting people that not picking up after their pet is just as bad as littering.
"This is serious," said Rye Police Chief Kevin Walsh. "Once we destroy our environment, we can't go back."
Officials say the recent studies that showed the elevated levels of bacteria in the watershed show that the water is contaminated with either human or animal waste.
"It's also got to do with our natural resource, the Atlantic Ocean, that's everybody's and that's starting to get contaminated," Walsh said.
Ellen Morton-Hamil has lived in Rye most of her life and said she is disappointed that people are littering in her little slice of heaven.
"I have seen the dog bags with waste that've been left alongside the road," she said.
Some residents, like Rod Lintz, question the enforceability of the $1,000 fine.
"It's just unreasonable," he said.
But others think the signs are enough to scare people into picking up what their pets have left behind.
"I'm hoping people realize it's not something they can ignore," said dog walker Krys Earle. "It's our water too, it's dangerous."
The fine starts at $50 and police say the $1,000 fine is typically reserved for repeat offenders.