Town Thinks Ban On Dogs Might Revitalize Business District

To some folks in Beaver Falls, PA., the sagging sales and foot traffic in the downtown business district isn’t a result of a depressed economy or consumers opting for online retailers and big box stores. No, it’s too many people walking their dogs down the sidewalk. So apparently the solution is to ban dogs from the area.

“It’s hard enough (for the elderly) to maneuver down the street on (their) own,” the City Manager tells the Beaver County Times about the stretch of city sidewalk that some say is overrun by dogs “as big as ponies.” And don’t even get him started about the pooches tethered to parking meters.

He says he’s received complaints from shopkeepers about dog-walkers being a blight to local businesses.

One long-time employee at a clothing store in the Beaver Falls business district says it only makes sense that the sight of more dogs means fewer shoppers.

“When the city was a little more hustle and bustle,” she explains, “you didn’t see as many people walking pets up here.”

This person has likely not been to any number of major cities where the poshest, busiest shopping areas are also frequently populated by pedestrians and their pooch pals.

Critics say the city is focusing on a simple scapegoat (scapedog?) rather than making an investment in actually cleaning up dirty sidewalks.

“What they need to do is patrol the street,” one resident, who says there is more trash on the street than dog droppings, tells the Times.

No specific details of the ban have been released, but the city is expected to discuss the legal issues before the end of the year.

“Whether they agree with (tighter restrictions) or not,” said the City Manager, “people need to know that we’re making an effort to make the town look better.”

Beaver Falls considers banning dogs in business district [TimesOnline.com]

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  1. Chmeeee says:

    So you’re going to ban the only people who are actually walking through your business district? That should work out well…

    • Oh_No84 says:

      Well if the people would pick up their dog crap then dogs would not have to be banned.

      • Dagny Taggart says:

        But dogs pee, too. How is someone supposed to pick that up?

        • Oh_No84 says:

          You can train your dog to not pee on the sidewalk just as you can train your dog not to pee in the house. Dogs love to be trained, but you need a human smart enough to do it.

          • pamelad says:

            It took a little work, but not much, to train my dog to not pee and poop on a sidewalk, cafe patio or any other walkway after she was housebroken. She understands those things as she does the floors in the house.

            I’ve been very consistent and simple in training. “Road,” means stay on the road, sidewalk or cafe patio. Then you see the telltale signs of your dog needing to pee or poop, then say, “okay” and allow the dog to get off the paved surface and do its duty. If it’s a poop, you pick it up with the baggie you always carry in your pocket and dispose of it properly.

  2. deathbecomesme says:

    So ban the elderly and not the dogs.

    • StarKillerX says:

      You raise an excellent point, especially considering the quote below.

      “It’s hard enough (for the elderly) to maneuver down the street on (their) own,”

      Although maybe not an outright ban on the elderly, maybe just require they have someone walking them, and helping them maneuver down the street?

    • Hungry Dog says:

      If we kept the elderly leashed properly they wouldn’t be getting into situations that might be harmful to them.

  3. CosmosHuman says:

    somehow my comment posted to the fake ice cream story…

    Go ahead ban my Cosmo, the sweetest Jack Russell you’ll ever meet and I’ll take my hard earned cash (what is left over from paying taxes) elsewhere!

  4. StarKillerX says:

    While I could understand setting some sort of limit, if dog walkers are becoming a problem as I’ve seen paid walkers being dragged around by up to a dozen dogs at a time and they basically take up the entire sidewalk, but banning dogs completely is simply stupid…… but of course the fact that it is stupid increases the chances that the politicians will actually do it.

  5. klobbersaurus685 says:

    From the sounds of the logic from the city person, it’s anything under-foot is trouble for the elderly.
    Why stop at dogs. Ban strollers, children and any person under 4’6″. Ban long dresses, that can cause people to trip. Ban wheelchairs too, I’ve tripped on a wheelchair before and decided to never shop in a quarter mile area from where it happened.

    • StarKillerX says:

      “…Ban long dresses….”

      Wouldn’t women in very short dresses cause more navigation issues, at least for men? :)

  6. Quirk Sugarplum says:

    This stinks of dirty back-room politics from the Beaver lobby.

    • Willy_HSV says:

      Please dont confuse Beaver and Beaver Falls. They are 2 different towns. As for the dogs, ban them on main street. There are plenty of other streets they can walk on.

  7. Olivia Neutron-Bomb says:

    Good for them.

  8. Velvet Jones says:

    Beaver Falls is a shit hole, that’s why no one wants to shop there. Clear out the crack heads and the gang bangers then maybe you will see some sort of improvements.

  9. backbroken says:

    Mr. Belvedere approves.

  10. catskyfire says:

    I would like to know how many dogs/etc. I won’t deny, I’m not a dog person. Too many people are dragged by their dogs. And I loathe being barked at when I have to a right to be where I am. (Yes, the dog may be being ‘friendly’ or it may be barking because you’re in its vicinity, it still irritates me.) I don’t like it when animals lunge towards me, friendly or no. The dog tied to the parking meter…probably not just sitting quietly.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I’m not lying when I’ve said that I have never encountered a bad dog, but I am incredibly tolerant toward dogs. Most of the ones I see tied to parking meters are just relaxing as their owners are inside the shop. In my area, dogs are allowed in stores (as long as they don’t sell food) and I’ve never encountered a dog that didn’t behave. There are a lot of dogs in my neighborhood and they’re really well-behaved, even the ones who bark once in a while. They’re just communicating.

    • chancyrendezvous says:

      I like dogs in general, but I really dislike sharing walking/shopping/eating space with them. My local downtown area is considering lifting its dog ban and I would certainly spend less time there if the ban is lifted. Well-behaved dogs are wonderful, but not all dogs receive good training. Dogs can soil the streets, impede the flow of traffic, and intimidate people. I’d rather shop/eat elsewhere than deal with potentially ill-behaved dogs.

  11. SilentAgenger says:

    This reminds me of my experience with Grape Nuts. I opened up the box…there’s no grapes…there’s no nuts…what’s the deal here?!?

    /seinfeld

    • SilentAgenger says:

      stupid login button always takes me to the previous article I read instead of the one I was commenting on…and I see I’m not alone considering the many misplaced comments I’ve read from others. This needs fixing, Consumerist!

      • SilentAgenger says:

        …and give us an EDIT button while you’re at it!

        (please, thank you)

        • elangomatt says:

          They don’t need to fix anything! The random posts on other posts are pretty amusing, and without an edit button, the grammar police get to keep their jobs!

  12. ecuador says:

    I remember I loved just how many dogs (esp. golden retrievers) I could see being walked around daily around our office on Upper West side, Manhattan. It didn’t seem to have an adverse effect on anything…

  13. Velifer says:

    In my experience, my well-behaved dogs have been welcomed everywhere I’ve taken them (my not-well behaved dogs stay home until they get more training). So I’m led to believe that there are some really crappy dog owners causing problems in the area for everyone.

    Get the vagrants, hookers, and drug dealers to chase them out of the neighborhood.

  14. axiomatic says:

    Consumerist…. please follow this story long term so we can hear these business recant this edict in roughly three months or so. I’m not even a dog owner and realize that if the dogs go away, the dog owners go away too, which I fear is likely a good portion of their profit demographic.

  15. Mr. Spy says:

    So, lets say I walk my dogs downtown. And they put this law in place. I can’t help but feel that they are saying to me, “We don’t want your business”. Even if I don’t interpret it like that, I would not be walking in that area, so I wouldn’t do business there.
    How is this going to help anyone?
    Perhaps they have a billionaire in town who is afraid of dogs and will single handedly revitalize downtown.
    Or downtown is full of mail order office supply shops that don’t need walk in business.

    But on the other coin. “What they need to do is patrol the street,” Yeah, raise taxes to hire street janitors. See how that goes over.

  16. theamazingyeah says:

    Lots of stores in really really posh urban areas near where I live allow the Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian types to carry their little accessory dogs into whatever store they like. Perhaps large dogs should be left at home or tied up outside, but even the really large breeds on the sidewalks outside the boutiques just lay there and are extremely well behaved. In fact about a quarter of the people who walk by will pet them or pass them little treats.

    The same can’t be said for the teenagers who gather in mobs so large that they spill into the streets. The boys have their rough-housing shoving matches that frequent knock passersby to the ground and the girls scream at the top of their lungs that Harmony and Chad just tweeted about their breakup. Ban teenagers.

  17. jp7570-1 says:

    Many active urban districts actually go out of their way to ATTRACT pet owners. Some stores leave pet water bowls at the entry. Businesses like Three Dog Bakery sponsor “yappy hours” for dogs and their owners. And many outdoor cafes accommodate dogs at outdoor tables.

    Now if Beaver Falls attracted beavers, that would be more interesting.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      We have a dog park that is well-controlled and well-maintained so it’s good for animals and humans. As a result, some of the businesses in the area cater to both pets and humans. We have dessert shops that also make dog treats.

    • Kestris says:

      Three Dog Bakery makes awesome dog treats.

    • triana says:

      No kidding. Urban businesses need to attract people on foot (due to lack of parking), and if they can cater to the dog owners walking by, they’ve got a whole new potential customer base.

  18. nopirates says:

    i, for one, would love a more dog-free world. i have only to look at the piles of crap on my street as justification for this wish.

  19. Bob A Dobalina says:

    “Whether they agree with (tighter restrictions) or not,” said the City Manager, “people need to know that we’re making an effort to make the town look better.”

    In other words, this is to make it appear that we are doing something when, in actuality, we aren’t doing jack

  20. ronbo97 says:

    Small town small mindedness.

    I think they should just ban *people*. That’ll solve all their problems. Yeah, that’s the ticket !

  21. jbandsma says:

    I was born and raised near Beaver Falls. Went through there this year. Dogs are NOT the problem. Unemployment, an aging population since the young are getting the hell out of town as fast as they can, general depression of the whole area…those are the reasons. Beaver doesn’t have it quite as bad as Ellwood City or Aliquippa but it’s bad.

  22. Kestris says:

    I guess you could say that in Beaver Falls, Pa, the economy has definitely gone to the dogs…

  23. konfusi0n says:

    Before tanking economy – people that live nearby who walk their dogs daily walk on street, side by side with people whos only business to be on main street was to shop.

    After economy tanks – no one wants to shop, only people who live by walk by with their dogs.

    Yup Totally the dogs fault!

  24. triana says:

    If few people are patronizing the area, why would you want to ban any of those that are coming there? Dog walking gets people out and about and walking past stores that they might otherwise miss while speeding by in the car. If someone’s dog is a nuisance or dangerous, ban them on an individual basis. Maybe an ordinance regulating barking, jumping, or cleanup to get rid of the problem owners.

  25. NotEd says:

    Really, Cause when I drove a moving truck through Beaver Falls I thought they weren’t getting my money because none of the gas station sold Diesel.
    Otherwise I would’ve bought gas and walked my dogs.

  26. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    From reading the article and the reader’s comments to the article, I suspect it has less to do with the dogs themselves but the owners and the owner’s activities.

  27. Ilovegnomes says:

    My local city use to have a ban on dogs on the main street for shopping. The minute they lifted it, the dog owners came out of the woodwork to enjoy the downtown again. However, that was also the week that for the first time in 30 years of shopping down there that I had stepped in a big pile of dog crap that was left in the middle of the sidewalk. Before someone says watch where you step… I was in a big crowd of people. There was no visibility ahead of me. By the time I saw it. I was already in it. Plus dog owners have a responsibility to clean up after their pooches.

    I can’t speak for Beaver Falls but situations like what I experienced, makes me want to go spend my money where I don’t risk ruining my shoes. I can see where banning dogs or limiting dogs in shopping area is a start for cleaning up an area (not all dog owners are responsible and ruin it for the ones who are) but it also doesn’t solve all of the city’s problems.

    • benminer says:

      Oh boo hoo you poor baby.

    • NickRayko says:

      So no one in the big crowd of people ahead of you stepped in the dog crap? You have amazingly bad luck. Or, more likely, you’re just a whiny bitch.

      • Ilovegnomes says:

        Thank you for so eloquently demonstrating how inconsiderate and self absorbed that some pet owners would be that they would defend the right to let a dog defecate in a public place, followed by refusing to clean up after it (which is breaking the law) and then calling someone a name when they point out how that impacts someone else in a negative way. People like you are why cities discuss bans on dogs in specific areas. Point well made. Thank you.

        • NickRayko says:

          I’ve never owned a dog. I prefer cats – they keep the annoying songbird population low, and bury their shite in the neighbors’ gardens.

        • daemonaquila says:

          I prefer shopping where the sidewalks aren’t full of snarky, entitled people, but that’s apparently a little difficult to find. It’s such a tragedy to get a little poo on a shoe once in a blue moon when walking in public. Oh by the way, I don’t have a dog, and poo cleans off in 10 seconds on a patch of grass or with a paper towel. “Ruined shoes?” Don’t think so.

          • Actionable Mango says:

            I’d like to shit on your porch every day. You can clean it up in 10 seconds with a paper towel, so I’m sure you won’t mind.

  28. Cerne says:

    Brilliant business strategy. Alienated a large market segment and come out as anti-freedom. That will really bring in customers.

  29. Difdi says:

    My question would be “how long will it be before they trip over the service animal laws with their dog ban?”

    So they ban dogs from downtown. Great. Then some overzealous cop sees someone walking a dog through downtown. The cop swoops in, tackles the blind man, shoots the Seeing Eye dog (it was breathing, therefore it was a deadly threat) and gets the city sued for millions. I’m sure that will fix their monetary woes. Somehow.

  30. july18 says:

    i found out exactly what a pet-friendly means in a town like san francisco when searching for a new apartment – they mean THEIR pet only …

  31. daemonaquila says:

    What morons. This is as good “reasoning” as that of an exhibitor at a local art fair, who insists every year on having her booth near the main stage (where there are the most people), but who every year complains that the music is too loud and should be shut off. It’ll be funny to see, a year from now, the dog ban explode in their faces because people with dogs (and who think this idea is idiotic and offensive) walk, eat, and shop elsewhere.

  32. Snoopy says:

    I am sure the fact that crime has spiraled out of control in Beaver Falls has no impact on the number of shoppers downtown. They should take what they can get, the current shoppers may only be bringing their canine friends with them for added safety!

  33. saralegal21 says:

    Heh. I pass by Beaver Falls while driving from the East Coast to my hometown in Indiana. I was low on gas so I pulled off at that exit. Before I got to a gas station, I must have passed at least 15 strip clubs, adult “bookstores,” and motels that rented by the hour and advertised deep discounts for truck drivers (guess the town is aptly named). It was ridiculous. Not sure why a dog ban is necessary for their “business district.”