HELENA — As the snow begins to melt away, many towns and trailheads across Montana are left facing a problem that, kind of stinks.
Dog waste being left behind long after owner and pet are gone is a bad look and a pain in the butt for residents.
"Sometimes the pet owner's not aware of what's happened," said City of Helena Open Lands Manager Brad Langsather. "So I think that's an issue. It's not only ignoring it, it's not being aware of what your pet is doing."
And it turns out that not picking up after your dog is not only irresponsible, but illegal.
According to Helena City Code, the fine for a first offense of not picking up after your pet could range from $35 to $100, $250 for a second and up to $500 for a third.
And not cleaning up after your dog could also spread diseases, like hookworm to both pets and people.
But being a responsible dog owner, at least in this aspect, is not a difficult thing to do.
"If they do have a problem a resident, of course, contact a city official at any time and let us know what's going on," said Langsather. "We quite commonly have requests for the park's department to install pet waste stations. But again, it's the responsibility of the animal owner to clean up after their pet, and the parks department certainly feels like we've done more than our fair share by providing the mutt mitt stations where we do."
So bring a bag, or grab a mutt mitt the next time you and your dog hit the town or trail, and help keep your city clean.