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

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.

Relocated Garbage Bin at Irwin Park Designed To Help with Used Dog Waste Bags

Responding to one idea for addressing the problem of abandoned dog waste at Irwin Park, public works officials have relocated a garbage bin to its northwest corner opposite Bayberry Road. Public Works Director Tiger Mann said the bin originally had been located near Irwin Barn and was moved at the request of the Parks & Recreation Commission. According to Commission Chair Sally Campbell, the thinking is that the newly placed bin would “make disposing of dog waste a little easier” for some. Specifically, some park-goers would pick up after their dog but then toss the used bag off-trail somewhere behind the main house, presumably because they didn’t want to have to carry it all the way around the Flexi-pave loop, she said. “Evidently it bothers other people and they think walking half a mile with a bag is an inconvenience, I guess,” Campbell said.

Public Buildings InfoSheet: Irwin House

[Editor’s Note: The following “Statement of significance” has been prepared in advance of the April 26 Forum on Public Buildings, to be held 6:30 to 9 p.m. at Town Hall—more information is available here and questions for panelists can be submitted here. Most of the information in the bullet points below is drawn from the Town Building Evaluation & Use Committee report.]

Built: 1963
Square Footage: 7,963
Current Uses: Recently provided swing space offices for the town, though a long-term use has not been identified. Committee Recommendations: Either put Irwin House to work or consider whether continued maintenance and the contingent liability is warranted. Potential use would be relocation of the Board of Educaiton from its leased office space either through a renovation/expansion or replacement, depending on the most cost effective and building appropriate analysis. Submitted by Neele-Banks Stichnoth:

Thomas Watson, Sr. the IBM founder, bought the property at 848 Weed Street for his country home.

Local Woman To Place ‘Shame on You’ Flags on Deserted Dog Feces in Irwin Park

Parks officials on Wednesday night heard from a New Canaan woman who has a new idea for shaming those who walk dogs in Irwin Park and leave the animals’ feces behind, a continual problem that’s reared up recently. Jean Scheidl said she would plant 4-by-6-inch vinyl ‘Shame On You’ flags on each individual pile of excrement left at the popular park in order to send a message to the irresponsible dog owners who leave them. At last count, Scheidl said she spotted and a photographed 31 such messes on and around the Flexi-pave walk around the park’s perimeter. “I think something has to be done because it is not pleasant, it really isn’t,” Scheidl told members of the Parks & Recreation Commission at their regular meeting, held at Lapham Community Center. “I think when people come back and see that it is not right then they maybe will stop doing it,” she said.