Council member Ronnie Greer's anti-canine crusade continues this week, and now he's got a steaming hot topic in his sights: dog poop. Greer, you'll recall, launched the dog-denouncing campaign last month with a controversial (and failed) attempt to ban the creatures from 12 South's Sevier Park, a move he's inexplicably resurrecting this week. But Tuesday night, District 17's Greer, who apparently has plenty of time (and those little plastic baggies) on his hands, was slated to one-up himself, introducing a bill that would prohibit dogs from leaving their, er, doggy treats on "any public or private property."
That's right, pet owners: This legislation clearly states that anyone caught with poop in their back yard will be fined $50.
Hoping the bill wasn't as ridiculous as it seemed to be, the Scene called the council's legal director, Don Jones, for an official opinion. Does BL2004-302 really make it a crime to let your dog drop a deuce out back? "Um, I'd have to say, yes," sighs the justifiably weary man whose job it is to render big thoughts little enough for council members.
It shouldn't take a secret meeting to figure out that this legislation stinks. But then again, you never know what to expect from a council that recently considered banning vegetation over 12 inches tall from Nashville's yards.
But why target man's best friends' rear ends? Very few of our city's legislators had an answer at press time, although most of the ones we could reach said they expected the Greer poop bill to pass on first reading and plop down to committee level. There, one would hope, the legislation would get flushed and reworded to exempt Rover's home territory. Then come second and third readings, and eventually, God willing, some enforceable legislation may emerge from the bowels of the Metro Council.
Trouble is, who asked for this to begin with? "I'll vote against this bill," says at-large council member Adam Dread, adding that, to his knowledge, Davidson County already has an adequate pooper-scooper law. Another council member reports that "there might be some enforcement issues" with the ordinance as written.
Greer didn't return a Tuesday afternoon call for comment on this bill or his renewed effort to ban dogs from Sevier Park, an effort that failed a couple of weeks ago. Council member Ginger Hausser, on the other paw, did. Her district abuts Greer's and borders Sevier Park, and it's safe to say she was a little ticked that Greer would reintroduce the canine crackdown bill without consulting her first.
"I asked him to include me on any further discussions [about Sevier Park]," she says. But instead she got "no noticezero.... I felt that I made it clear about my expectation that we cooperatively work together." Reached before the council meeting, Hausser was debating pulling the legislation on first reading and shooting it downjust like District 2's Jamie Isabel did last time.
Greer, then, has managed to tick off his neighboring colleague, anger Nashville dog owners and introduce poop-joke legislation all in the same week. For a legislative body that just passed a good budget and is sick of being the butt of all jokes, when they're around Greer they'd be well advised to watch where they step.
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