‘Follow Them, Look at Their Car, Get the License Plate’: Parks Commissioner Calls for Self-Policing at Irwin


L-R: Louis, Dexter and Marvin Dinan at Irwin Park. Credit: Michael Dinan

A town official on Wednesday night called for a renewed effort to self-police Irwin Park, which she said has seen a resurgence in abandoned dog feces. 

Parks & Recreation Commission member Francesca Segalas said during the group’s regular meeting that reporting offenders to police and having them ticketed has worked in the past.

Tickets issued to irresponsible dog walkers last year led to less dog waste left behind, Segalas said at the meeting, held at Town Hall.

“And the tickets happened from two citizens reporting, not from the cops stopping them,” she said. “The dog warden caught them but she caught them on information from the citizen. So we need people to go and kind of look and see and if you see somebody who leaves dog poo behind, follow them, look at their car, get the license plate and text it to me and I’ll take care of it.”

The comments come one year after Parks & Rec formed a committee to tackle the problem and one local woman launched a widely discussed public shaming campaign at Irwin, placing ‘Shame On You’ flags on individual piles of excrement left at the popular park. The Commission later reported that the town was thinking about installing motion-activated cameras to identify and clamp down on offenders. 

At the Commission meeting, Segalas said “we will be flagging again the poos in the park” and noted that her partner in the effort last year, Commissioner Steve Haberstroh, was not in attendance. 

“Anybody else want to volunteer at Irwin occasionally to walk through and see what it is like?” Segalas said. 

No one immediately jumped in.

Commission Chair Sally Campbell noted that “the efforts were effective last year.”

“It reduced it,” she said.

5 thoughts on “‘Follow Them, Look at Their Car, Get the License Plate’: Parks Commissioner Calls for Self-Policing at Irwin

  1. While I applaud the efforts to encourage ( enforce) people to be responsible dog owners, I suggest something other than the flags. We were just at Irwin park and saw no feces but lots of rusted yellow flags along the path. Maybe a biodegrade flag?

  2. The pending plastic bag ban will prove to be a challenge for dog excrement removal. I would assume that the free plastic bag stations will no longer be available.

  3. According to what was said at last week’s town council meeting, the “ban” would not affect the dog waste bags at town parks. So we’d still have them at Irwin.

  4. If you don’t want to pick up your dog’s poop—do not walk him/her in a public park. Let your furry family member deposit in your yard. I have a dogwalking/dogsitting business and part of the walk is picking up the poop. Don’t leave it for other dogs and people to step in.

  5. I’m sorry, but asking me to follow people to their cars when i am out trying to relax is not fair. Those yellow flags were a mar on the natural beauty as well and honestly, the only reason i know what they were was because i had read about it. No way would i have realized the purpose just by looking at them. I am tired of this situation and respectfully request that dogs be banned from this park. Walk on the street or in a wooded park like Waveny where the poop will blend in nicely with the dark dirt!

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