“Pay To Pee” Poster Prompts $250 Fine

Paul Bass PhotoFed up with pooches peeing in the flowerpot outside his restaurant, banh mi maestro Duc Nguyen decided to take action — then ended up being declared a public nuisance.

He received a visit Tuesday at his Orange Street Vietnamese restaurant, Duc’s Place, from a city public health inspector, who fined him $250 for a poster he put in his restaurant window aimed at owners of the urinating pets.

Nguyen promises to fight the fine. And he’s fighting mad.

“I’m trying to keep the city clean,” he said Tuesday afternoon. “And I’m a ‘nuisance’?”

Meanwhile, he said, “these dog owners think they own the city. They can roam their dogs and pee and shit everywhere.”

Nguyen took action after watching too many dogs relieving themselves in this flowerpot outside the restaurant, which is known for its crunchy, flavorful banh mi and other specialties from his native Vietnam.

“It’s disgusting. It’s right out the doorstep,” he said. “it attracts flies. Every time the door opens, flies come in. This is a food establishment! It’s unsanitary.

“Every night I have to clean the sidewalk. It’s like a river. I’m just fed up with this.”

So two weeks ago he took action. He put a surveillance camera in the window to catch the critters in the act. And he posted this tongue-in-cheek sign. It invited dog-owners to come inside either to “pay” for the privilege of soiling the dirt in the flowerpot, or else have Nguyen “return the favor.”

Indeed, he did catch a pooch in the act. He posted this picture of the offender and the offender’s handler in the window.

He also gathered DNA samples of the pee, in case the dog owner ever challenges his verison of events. Nguyen knows from DNA; before opening his restaurant two years ago, he was a Yale genetics researcher.

Tuesday morning Honda Smith came to the restaurant, not to order a banh mi, but to instruct Nguyen he couldn’t post that sign. Smith is a public space enforcer for the city’s public works department. She wrote Nguyen a ticket for $250 for violating section 18-20 of the city Code of Ordinances by creating a public nuisance. (The section reads: “Whenever the director of public works shall have notice of a public nuisance in said city, if the same be in any public street, square or grounds, or in or upon any flat, slip, quay, dock or public landing, he shall cause the same to be abated or removed at once.”)

Nguyen, incredulous, demanded to know the reason.

“The nuisance,” Smith told him, “is you having people pay to pee.”

“No one has paid me yet,” Nguyen responded.

Why, Nguyen asked, is he a “nuisance?”

“You have a pee pot sitting out here,” Smith responded.

“It’s not a pee pot. It’s a flower pot!” Nguyen insisted. “People are peeing in it!”

You can watch the entire encounter, in which Nguyen grew heated, in the above video, which he took and then posted on the restaurant’s Facebook page.

Smith advised him that he has 10 days to file an appeal of the ticket. Which he plans to do. (The ticket cited a second section of the city code, 27-31, as well. It reads: “Nuisances on streets. No person shall commit any nuisance in any street in the city. This shall include but not be limited to any impediment, obstruction or interference with the free flow of movement within the public right-of-way. Any violation of this section shall constitute an infraction, and, upon conviction, shall result in a fine of up to one hundred dollars ($100.00), or an amount up to the maximum allowed under state statute, for each day that the violation continues. Such person shall be required to abate the violation.”

Later Tuesday afternoon, Smith told the Independent that she had received a call from a woman objecting to the sign that seemed to offer money in exchange for pee. The caller feared that more pee would worsen the smell on Orange Street.

Asked how it felt to have been on the end of Nguyen’s anger, Smith said she encounters upset people all the time.

“It doesn’t affect me,” she said. “I’m a public servant. I have to handle it. I’ve got to do a job.”

She said she felt “very sympathetic” to Nguyen’s concerns about dogs peeing in his pot. She suggested he contact the police.

Nguyen said he called the police, and they told him they can’t do anything about it.

He also said he never intended to encourage people to pee by posting his satirical sign.

“I was being sarcastic,” he said of the sign that earned him the fine. “But I do want to talk to these people face to face. That’s why I posted the picture of that woman. I’m not asking anyone to pee.”


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posted by: elmcityale on September 4, 2018  2:58pm

“The nuisance,” Smith told him, “is you having people pay to pee.”

You can’t make up a more perfect example of government arrogance and incompetence.  They should be chasing after the irresponsible pet owners instead of the merchant, who is the real victim in this case.

posted by: Bill Saunders on September 4, 2018  3:13pm

Where is “Town Green Special Services’ when you need them!

This is clearly in their district—and I am sure there are businesses, flower pots and garbage cans that get the same poochy treatment regularly. 

This new Permit Enforcement Officer needs to go….. this isn’t a matter of ‘doing her job’, this is a matter of flat out harassment.

posted by: Bill Saunders on September 4, 2018  3:15pm

If I were Duc, I would also get the pee samples out of his restaurant.
That could be a legitimate health code violation…..

posted by: 1644 on September 4, 2018  3:21pm

Wow. Honda has clear violations all over the city, and she declares this guy a nuisance?  New Haven welcomes drug addicts and criminals to camp out and soot up on its Green while issuing a bogus summons to a taxpaying businessman.  No wonder it’s going down the tubes.

posted by: OhHum on September 4, 2018  3:31pm

The health dept. lets individuals urinate and defecate on the New Haven Green, of course they’re going to object to Nguyen trying to stop dog owners from having their dogs urinate on his potted plant near the door to his restaurant. I guess the health Dept. is really on top of things now that the Green is no longer a problem. Oh Hum!

posted by: alex on September 4, 2018  3:37pm

Go Honda!!! Tough job but someone has to do it. I feel for the restaurant owner too. The dog owners are gangsters!

posted by: MakeNewHavenGreatAgain on September 4, 2018  3:45pm

Dogs pee, they have to, that is how the creator made it for all of us, you drink then you pee. Dogs pee on nature not in toilets, I assume Nguyen never had a dog so he must think Dogs pee in toilets but they don’t, They pee on grass and plants, that is there toilet. Maybe Nguyen should just chill out and move his flower pot on a stand out of the reach of dog pee. Nguyen needs to spend less time worrying about how the urinary system of dogs work and worry more about keeping his restaurant in business.

posted by: Noteworthy on September 4, 2018  3:45pm

This is what’s wrong with New Haven - employees like Honda Smith, who with power and ignorance, create more problems. But she’s a public servant. The fine is arbitrary, the interpretation of the ordinance is way beyond scope and there is no evidence that a sign in a window is an impediment to the free flow of traffic on the street or on the sidewalk. This is ridiculous. How many tickets a year does she hand out? Are all of them this stupid?

posted by: Wooster Squared on September 4, 2018  3:55pm

You have a city where children are getting lead poisoning from badly maintained buildings, 100’s of people are OD’ing on the green, and this is what the city is spending its time and money on - Bullying business owners who are trying keep the area around their property clean? This is pathetic. I don’t see how harassing small business owners helps anyone.

posted by: mmrmike1 on September 4, 2018  4:30pm

Honda Smith get your story straight. 1st you accuse him of putting someone’s name on a flyer, then state it is illegal to to videotape someone, and then accuse him of having a ‘pee’ pot in front of store.
  He posted a picture with no name (obviously the complainant). Since when is against the law to videotape someone in a public area (i.e. people recording police officers do their job). It’s a flower pot (are they now illegal also now.
  Maybe before Honda Smith decides to harass someone she should stop in the Corporation Consuel office and ask 1 of the lawyers there for an opinion, seeing you have no idea what your talking about.

posted by: LookOut on September 4, 2018  4:39pm

hmmm….suppose I was thinking about opening a small business to serve New Haven.  Over the past couple of months, I have sees A) an 11% increase in an already crazy high tax rate B) a 3 day OD binge on the city green, B) part 2) the city handing out Narcan to everyone….let’s all give heroin a try!  C) the cit code enforcement clearly harassing this shop owner (Note: a donation to the Harp campaign would make this go away)

What is the conclusion?

posted by: Nan Bartow on September 4, 2018  4:43pm

Oh Honda,
You know I love you and the job that you do to keep the city clean.  What is a restauranteur to do when the dogs pee all over the plant that he is using to decorate the front of his restaurant?
Give the man a break. He is just trying to make the city better, not worse.
Your friend, Nan

posted by: New Haven Resident001 on September 4, 2018  4:54pm

Overall Duc has it wrong:
1) Duc is harassing dog owners, specifically the one he posted on his window, which likely would be intimidation and perhaps extortion accusing her of some crime or non-payment. Collecting DNA from urine and keeping it in his restaurant is a bit extreme for a “joke” and clearly a health code violation. If this a known health issue, then all the more reason to keep the pot on his own property, not the sidewalk.

2) Duc has no right to the sidewalk to put his personal property on it any more than the rest of the general public.  Keep your belongings on your own property.

3)It is no crime for a dog to urinate on the public’s sidewalk.

posted by: Gary Stewart on September 4, 2018  5:08pm

Wow! This is possibly , and there is much competition , the most idiotic action taken by a City employee, ever!  I would love to know just what the Mayor thinks - Paul - have we tried to get a comment ?

posted by: 1644 on September 4, 2018  5:23pm

MakeNew:  Yes,  dogs pee on nature, which is why those in live in unnatural environments like Orange Street should not have dogs.  Want a dog?  Get a few acres of nature in Killingworth, or a least a reasonably sized lot in Westville.

posted by: 1644 on September 4, 2018  5:30pm

NewHaven: Pee on the sidewalk, whether by a dog or human, is just gross.  If it isn’t an infraction, it should be.  Again, those who want dogs should choose neighborhoods appropriate for dogs, i.e.  places like Guilford and Madison.  As the article on the drug store closing elaborates, Orange Street has its advantages, but being a suitable place to have a dog is not one of them.

posted by: newhavenishome on September 4, 2018  6:38pm

I have a dog. I would never let it pee in someone’s flower planter! How rude and inconsiderate.
I can’t believe what I just read. This poor guy is straight up being harassed by the City for trying to keep his place of business welcoming and tidy.
New Haven-I do believe you have reached a new low…..at least until next week.

posted by: Bill Saunders on September 4, 2018  6:49pm

As anybody noticed an ‘uptick’ in dog ownership this Fall…...(I was beginning to think it was just me)

Gentrification Hounds?

posted by: Mikelive on September 4, 2018  6:59pm

It’s called cherry picking when you ignore the real problems and go after the hard working and highly visible taxpayers that are easy to pick on. Honestly this sounds like bullying to me from the higher ups, I doubt this was #1 on Honda’s list.

posted by: Bill Saunders on September 4, 2018  7:07pm

Isn’t this why we have Pee Click Fix?

posted by: AverageTaxpayer on September 4, 2018  7:13pm

OMFG, this shit, (whoops, I mean piss!) is about to go viral!

Is Honda Smith a comic genius, with a terrific deadpan? Or is she totally devoid of humor?

This farce between Nguyen and Smith has Comedy Central written all over it. Please tell me the two were both fooling, and this isn’t reality….

posted by: MakeNewHavenGreatAgain on September 4, 2018  8:06pm

1644: So you obviously are against pets in cities, on that not im just curious what do you think of the roughly 600,000 dogs that live in NYC? should they all just move to the suburbs?

posted by: concerned_neighbor on September 4, 2018  8:35pm

Municipal government run amok! Only in New Haven! Rampant drug use and dealing on the Green and this is somehow on the City’s list of priorities? Same day service from a phone complaint? NHPD all but abandoned the Green about two years ago and suddenly we have a 3 or 4 cops on the Green today standing alone like at a middle school dance. I can smell the OT from here. . .

posted by: MakeNewHavenGreatAgain on September 4, 2018  8:39pm

Bill Saunders: it appears you are right, the issue has already been posted on see click fix for the health dept https://seeclickfix.com/issues/4870732-health-dept

posted by: jim1 on September 4, 2018  8:39pm

If he moves the plant pot then nothing to pee on problem solved..

Just don’t put that plant inside..

posted by: robn on September 4, 2018  9:22pm


More US households have dogs than have kids. Think about it.

posted by: mcg2000 on September 4, 2018  9:25pm

Meanwhile, nobody is ticketing dog owners who have their dogs unleashed on the New Haven Green or in Temple Plaza.

posted by: Bill Saunders on September 4, 2018  9:42pm


I would venture a guess that that SCF post was inspired by the article (and maybe my earlier post), but not the initial ‘incident’ for which Duc was fined….

posted by: beyonddiscussion on September 4, 2018  10:26pm

A satirical sign put up by a great chef gets hit with a $250 fine as a nuisance? He wasn’t even given a chance to remove the sign before being slapped with the violation? Meanwhile a woman recklessly drove into a group of daycare kids crossing the street and got a slap on the wrists. Really, give the guy a break. It was funny. He makes great food. And he also makes a good point.

posted by: Bill Saunders on September 5, 2018  12:27am

A few weeks ago a SCF issue arrived in my mailbox about the local bodega posting cigarette advertisements on ‘public telephone poles’.

I was heading down there to buy some toilet paper anyway, brought up the issue to the hispanic owner, and he immediately removed the sign.

This stuff isn’t rocket science folks….

Beyond Discussion is totally correct, the owner should have been given an opportunity to ‘remediate’ the situation, before facing public fines and scrutiny.  This is an blatant abuse of ‘process’, or lack thereof….

One great idiom that comes to mind is ‘ignorance of the law excuses no one’.
That standard needs to apply to the people enforcing it as well…..

posted by: flash_demo on September 5, 2018  12:39am

@BillSaunders Pee Click Fix! LOL!

posted by: New Haven Nuisance on September 5, 2018  12:39am

I’d just like to say…wasn’t me

posted by: AverageTaxpayer on September 5, 2018  2:25am

@ beyonddiscussion — but you leave out the part about Nguyen video-taping the peeing perps and “posting” the photo of a piss-hound’s owner. (The article, while perfect, should have highlighted this more.)

What are the chances that the person “posted” was a friend of Ms. Smith? If that is/was the case, this would be a fairly egregious abuse of her policing powers. (a $250 for creating a nuisance?!?!).

In a normal City, Ms. Smith’s superior would initiate a short investigation with administrative relief and a quick apology being offered to the business owner.

But this is Zoo Haven…

posted by: robn on September 5, 2018  5:36am


The people who run their dogs free in parks do so because they pay ridiculous property taxes and have a right to enjoy the parks if they’re not unreasonably distrurbing others. Before you mention dog maulings, keep in mind that in NHV, exponentially more people are harmed by people than they are by dogs.

posted by: HewNaven on September 5, 2018  6:18am

I can see he worked hard on that flower pot.

posted by: robn on September 5, 2018  6:24am

That all being said, dog owners need to try to observe some etiquette. Yes dogs will pee quickly when they need to but the pictured owner clearly isn’t paying attention and could have trained her dog away. you can’t do that in an urban environment. Throw away that stretch leash and put away your phone.
Also, the ticketing is not only a peculiar overreaction to the commonplace accoutrement put outside retail establishments to pretty up the place but it’s also a violation of the 1st amendment which has long protected satire.

posted by: HewNaven on September 5, 2018  6:25am


This could be an episode of “Nathan For You”


posted by: mcg2000 on September 5, 2018  7:13am

Robn, paying high property taxes doesn’t entitle you to let your dog off leash in public parks or spaces that aren’t designated dog parks. I have been chased by a dog on Temple Plaza, and I’ve encountered dog owners on the Green who let their dogs get too close to me and either blamed me or didn’t apologize. As 1644 pointed out, I think dogs are better suited for suburban or rural environments where their owners have yards Another issue is some folks who do keep dogs in urban environments may tend towards smaller breeds as apartment buildings may not allow larger dogs, but smaller dogs who are not trained can bark a lot or be prone to chasing strangers. I think those who do keep dogs in the city should be extra careful to keep their dog on leashes in public and not let their dog do its business in someone else’s flowerpots.

posted by: TheMadcap on September 5, 2018  7:51am

I don’t care how much property tax you pay, I don’t care if you’re the sole person on the street/in the park who pays property taxes, keep your dog on a leash unless it is a dog park

posted by: robn on September 5, 2018  7:58am


When I’m downtown, I’m often more annoyed by human behavior than animal behavior. Law is supposed to limit bad behavior, not just behavior. Responsible dog owners (many of whom do not use public schools but pay egregious amounts of money to educate other peoples children) should be entitled to use of parks. Hey but let’s encourage city officials to start ticketing them. Maybe that will finally lead to a recall vote on BOA and Mayor.

posted by: MakeNewHavenGreatAgain on September 5, 2018  8:05am

I still do not understand why this restaurant owner is taking the dog pee inside of his restaurant. The dogs are peeing outside of his restaurant and then he is collecting the pee and bringing it inside his restaurant, that can not be sanitary.

posted by: Spectrin on September 5, 2018  8:22am

Honda Smith should be ashamed of herself.
That’s harassment. Every shop owner should have the right to protect their property.

posted by: robn on September 5, 2018  8:56am


Responsible dog owners don’t care that you don’t care.

posted by: 1644 on September 5, 2018  9:18am

MakeNew & robn:  As far as NYC, there are a few areas in the outer boroughs where people have larger lots and housing is less dense, such as Riverdale.  Otherwise, yes, people who live in areas of dense human population should not have dogs.  It’s not fair to the dogs.  Dogs need space to roam and exercise.  Moreover,  with declining dog ownership, there are more people like mcg2000 who freak out just because a dog is “too close”  to them, or off-leash, even in a wide-open area like the upper Green.  As far as defecation, my dogs have never pooped in their own yard, they went into surrounding brush and woods to do so.  So, letting a dog do what it wants to do naturally means having surrounding brush and woods.  (I believe it was a dog who came up with he maxim, “Don’t poop where you live.”)
    Story: When I was in college, I took a friend’s dog home for Christmas break.  “Rainbow”, so named because white is all colors,  would run full speed into the woods when we let him out, soon invisible against the snow.  He could enjoy our yard and adjacent woods, as well as miles long hikes with family members, followed by evenings in front of our hearth.  At the end of break, I brought him back into New Haven to his owner’s place on Wall Street.    To my surprise, he was not happy and excited to be reunited.  No, Rainbow wanted to be a dog, chasing squirrels by day and sleeping by a fire in the evening.

posted by: tmctague on September 5, 2018  9:32am


Where in this article does it say the owner brought the pee inside his restaurant?  It says he collected DNA samples, but those would have to be brought to a lab, not his kitchen.  I think you misread the article.

posted by: robn on September 5, 2018  9:41am


You haven’t given any good reason why responsible dog owners can’t use public parks to exercise their dogs. In fact, you’ve done the opposite.

posted by: Nath on September 5, 2018  10:18am

Dogs pee, that’s what they do.  However, I feel for the restaurateur, because it’s a matter of hygiene for him.  It is a food establishment! It’s unsanitary, and he was trying to educate people.  Let your dog pee on the fire hydrant instead of the restaurant’s door.  C’mon people, use your common sense!  It’s called civility!  As for the city, don’t they have other things to tend to that they have to ticket the owner of the restaurant, because the lady across the street did not get his sense of humor!  If you want to ticket people for lack of civility, I would go after the people who obliviously don’t pick up after their dogs and also for anyone who litters, and not just downtown!  Oh yeah how about the ones who don’t register their dogs at city hall every year, because after all, Connecticut state law does require all pet owners to license their dogs. Licensing also provides vaccination and sterilization benefits for pets. https://www.newhavenct.gov/gov/depts/animal_shelter/dog.htm.  I pay $16 a year for 2 dogs!  But for $250 a pop the city could get a chunk of $ to help keep the city clean!

posted by: Foolsplay on September 5, 2018  10:48am

I’m a dog owner and have been for over 30 yrs. when I walk my dog I carry a bag for his poop and a bottle of water for his pee. (I water his pee down ) I do this out of mutual respect for my neighbors and community. I would never let my dog urinate on someone’s plant. It’s selfish and rude not to mention crude. How many of you would want a dog to urinate on your flowers, or your door ? What if you had children who walked in the urine and then came into your home? Isn’t it time to start being empathetic and understand Duc’s concern? For him to be sanctioned and fined is an atrocity and shameful. What about his rt to free speech? Let’s start acting like grownups and not children who run to their parents when they can’t handle situations. Thanks🙏

posted by: HewNaven on September 5, 2018  11:18am

I can’t wait to go home and let the dog out.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on September 5, 2018  11:24am

This is the law in New York.

The NYC Health Code that prohibits dogs from urinating on the sidewalk.
Health Code § 161.03 Control of dogs and other animals to prevent nuisance.

A person who owns, possesses or controls a dog, cat or other animal shall not permit the animal to commit a nuisance on a sidewalk of any public place, on a floor, wall, stairway or roof of any public or private premises used in common by the public, or on a fence, wall or stairway of a building abutting on a public place.

Notes to § 161.03

This section is derived from S.C. § 227. Specific reference is made to cats as well as dogs. The reference to walls within premises is new. Under New York City Criminal Courts Act § 102c a magistrate is empowered to try and punish a violation of this section as an offense punishable by a fine of $25 or ten days imprisonment, or both.


The pitfalls of urine
As much as your dog enjoys leaving his stamp for other dogs to smell, unfortunately, dog urine is a big enemy of plant life. Grass, trees and even tree roots (meaning the three foot area surrounding trees) are damaged by even that one drop of your pup’s calling card. Imagine the damage done when dog after dog uses that cute little shrub right outside your door to say hello to other hounds.

There is a Pee Problem in NYC

The problem is dogs peeing on garbage bags. You may think this is pretty cut and dry, but in true New York fashion, area residents are completely divided on the issue.


Those whose job it is to collect our garbage, are already not in the most ideal of situations. . One of the worst aspects of the job is getting dog urine splashed on you as you pick up trash bags.


Why not? It’s garbage,” says David Velasquez, 28, a NYC dog walker “I’m all right with it.”


posted by: narcan on September 5, 2018  11:58am

That’s quite a stretch to issue a citation.

Smith should consider teaching yoga!

posted by: 1644 on September 5, 2018  12:02pm

robn:  Personally, I believe dog owners should be able to use parks to exercise their dogs.  However, people like mug and madcap are not comfortable around dogs, and have pushed laws and ordinances which prohibit such use.  For a good reason, the tragedy of the commons comes to mind.  Too many dogs exercising on too little land will tear the turf and too much pee will, also kill, vegetation.  So, again, it’s a matter or density.  Two dogs using the upper green to play tag, frisbie, etc. are not going to damage the Green, nor bother users like me.  A hundred dogs using it would turn it into a dust bowl.  A form grasp field near me where I used to take my dog to play was fenced in as a dog park.  Now, it’s all dust as people from outside the neighborhood and even out-of-town come to use it.  Meanwhile, my neighbors decided that dogs shouldn’t be in the underused, private park across the street from my house.  So, when my dog had to be put down, my wife and I did not replace him.  Being a dog owner is a massive responsibility, and one of those responsibilities should be providing a suitable place for them to exercise.

posted by: Jeannette Mills on September 5, 2018  12:40pm

I don’t totally agree with the City Of New Haven fining Duc Nguyen for posting a sign on his business property. I personally know him from my days of working at Yale University and he’s a harmless hardworking man that’s fed up with irresponsible pet owners allowing their dogs to relieve themselves on his property. I’m quite sure that he’d never charge anyone to allow them to let their dogs urinate and deficate on his property. Shame on Honda Smith for calling his flower pot a pee pot. The city could have easily had just issued him a warning and told him that he couldn’t post these signs . What’s the use of having an ordinance about cleaning up after your dogs if you’re not adhering to them and just crapping on the hard working store property owners??? Us property owners make valid complaints about pet owners allowing their dogs to crap on our property and we’re the ones that get crapped on. Duc , I feel your pain man!!!

posted by: robn on September 5, 2018  1:02pm


You’re making my point again. Too many dogs running in one place (just like too many humans running in one place…i.e. a football field) does grounds damage. That’s why they should be allowed to disperse. New Havens three dog parks combined (one is actually private land) is less than 2 acres. The NHV Green alone is 16 acres. East Rock Park is 425 Acres. The restriction is ridiculous and that’s why responsible dog owners ignore it.

posted by: 1644 on September 5, 2018  1:15pm

auto-correct strikes: mug = mcg
form = former
grasp = grass

posted by: stuffedsoul on September 5, 2018  1:34pm

I blame John McCain.

Isn’t there a Federal Building just across the street from here that is lined with large potted plants? Why don’t those pissants who gotta go when they gotta go, go over there to urinate and leave the potted plant Duc’s Place alone?

Soon they will ban me from having the best Banh Mi in New Haven.

Did I actually spot the date and time on that pee sample of Aug. 28, 2018, 4:40 p.m.?    <checking my calendar>

posted by: Bill Saunders on September 5, 2018  1:38pm

Do we all get to pee in the dog park now?

posted by: Sabrina-in-NewHaven on September 5, 2018  1:39pm

What a ridiculous waste of time and resources! How is it that our public servants have time to entertain a ridiculous complaint against this restaurant owner, but has a non-emergency number that is not manned late at night, on a Saturday, when many complaints come in about loud parties. Quality of life is quality of life. However, I’m sure his sign did not cause any problems other than hurt feelings. Dear pet owners guess what, we don’t own the streets.

A public nuisance is not being able to go to Ives Library with the scent of dirty laundry wafting in your direction. A public nuisance is not being able to wait for the bus without being approached by con artists selling bus cards, and whatever else they can get their hands on. There is no place to sit because it smells like urine.

A public nuisance is not being able to walk down the street without being catcalled, stalked in the movie theatre or purchasing a coffee before someone shows up to ruin your peace with their phone blasting music or a movie. Or they are camped out and taking up 3 chairs with their personal items.

There are many things in this town that are a nuisance this restaurant owners sign is not one of them!!! I’m going to have to patronize more often. Let me see someone let their dog urinate on a flower pot. I have a 60lb Staffordshire and I don’t even let her urinate on someone’s lawn. She is curbed. Your priorities are off New Haven, way off.

posted by: Sabrina-in-NewHaven on September 5, 2018  1:44pm

@MakeNewHavenGreatAgain you would be wrong. Mr. Honda should not have to adjust his business or private property to accommodate people who choose not to control where their dogs relieve themselves.

As a pet owner, I stand with the restaurant owner because unlike you I am not so privileged to think my dog (she’s 60lb by the way) can pee wherever she wants. That’s not how it works. When you own a dog you learn the etiquette or be a complete jerk. I see where you stand.

posted by: san on September 5, 2018  3:13pm

I’m with Duc Nguyen. Aren’t people accountable anymore? This man is trying to conduct a clean, decent business and having dog piss permeating the air and killing his plants at the entrance is inconceivable! But the real shame here is that so many of the people commenting don’t seem to think there’s anything wrong with it. That’s what scares me.

posted by: san on September 5, 2018  3:14pm

I can’t even conceive of what would happen if this dog did the same thing in front of Tiffanys or Sardi’s and the like. Are Lady Justice’s scales balanced?

posted by: 1644 on September 5, 2018  3:27pm

robn:  For me, responsible people obey the law, even when they disagree with it. I realize the concept of rule of law is not fashionable in New Haven, where elected leaders from the Mayor down champion criminality and lawlessness, picking and choosing which laws should be obeyed and enforced, and which flouted.  I don’t live in New Haven, so I leave the question of park use to New Haven residents.  I do know that bodily waste, human or dog, on sidewalks and in public places would deter me from patronizing New Haven businesses.  I, also, know, in my town we have zoning laws as to minimum lot sizes for various animals.  If New Haven doesn’t want dog owners using sidewalks for urinals and public parks for dog exercise, perhaps it should amend its zoning regulations to require a minimum lot size, of say a quarter acre for dog ownership.

posted by: MakeNewHavenGreatAgain on September 5, 2018  3:58pm

Worrying about dogs peeing on a plant, on a sidewalk, in a public space, is like worrying about a bird pooping on your car, WHEN NATURE CALLS, it calls.

What is more troublesome to me is the Human pee I have seen in the lifetime I have lived in New Haven, Ive seen pee on the glass window of restaurants to human feces in alleys.

Putting up an offensive sign encouraging people to pee in a pot outside in a public space is not only dangerous but just plain stupid. I think the fine was justified to protect the integrity of the city.

posted by: robn on September 5, 2018  4:04pm


Lets see what points most commenters seem to agree upon…

1) The dog owner in question was irresponsible but probably not representative of most.
2) The shop owner was treated unreasonably for his satirical posting.
3) The city has more pressing ways to expend its regulatory resources.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on September 5, 2018  4:10pm

posted by: MakeNewHavenGreatAgain on September 5, 2018 4:58pm
Worrying about dogs peeing on a plant, on a sidewalk, in a public space, is like worrying about a bird pooping on your car, WHEN NATURE CALLS, it calls.

But you can control where you dog is peeing at by taking he dog to the curb.

posted by: MakeNewHavenGreatAgain on September 5, 2018  4:23pm

THREEFIFTHS: You expect people to be able to control the bodily functions of an animal? With what mind control? Most people can’t even control there own children and you expect them to control an animal? That is just ridiculous! Once that pee starts flowing its not stopping at the command of a whistle unless that dog was trained by the military special forces. If you put something outside expect it to get pee and poop on it, that is just nature and how the world works.

posted by: robn on September 5, 2018  4:23pm

Lots of comments on this article. I guess people are pissed off.

posted by: Bill Saunders on September 5, 2018  6:00pm

The gender-bias here well apparent.
Remember, this article is really about the ‘leg lifter’s’!

B*tches squat!

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on September 5, 2018  7:40pm

posted by: MakeNewHavenGreatAgain on September 5, 2018 5:23pm
THREEFIFTHS: You expect people to be able to control the bodily functions of an animal? With what mind control?

Not mind control.It is call dog body language.

Signals That Your Dog Needs a Toilet Break.

How can you tell when your dog needs to pee or poop? The Dog Trainer deciphers dog body language—plus, a trick for teaching your dog to ring a bell to go out!

How Grown Dogs May Signal a Need to Go Out

Grown, housetrained dogs who need an unscheduled toilet break often signal without being specifically taught to do so. Some are so obvious about it that even the most obtuse of us can’t miss the point – they stand in front of the door and paw at it or bark. Or they trot back and forth between person and door. More subtle cues that a dog needs to go out include standing at the door quietly, lying down facing the door, standing in front of you and wagging his tail, and good old general restlessness and whining.

What to Watch for in an Older Puppy

Even when puppies begin to develop control over their sphincters, it doesn’t come all at once. Keep your housetrainee on a regular schedule of frequent outings, but now you should be able to get him outdoors if you act fast, at the first sign of imminent bowel or bladder action. Some things to watch for: restlessness; sniffing; circling (break out the lightning speed here, people); a sudden trot toward the corner or another room. A puppy who has begun to get the point of housetraining may navigate toward the door. These are your cues to gently scoop up Pup and get him outside.

Signs That a Dog Has to Go Potty
Seasoned dog owners are pretty good at detecting when dogs have “business” to attend to, but for the first-time owner, knowing when a pooch needs to potty for house training purposes can be tricky at first. With careful observation, you will learn what your particular pup does to let you know she has to go pee or poop.


posted by: Gimp on September 5, 2018  9:55pm

This looks like extortion to me. How can a citizen be cited for posting a sign on the inside of his door, which is private property? It shows the city is so short of cash it has to stoop to the lowest levels. Look out hard working, law abiding folks. You are about to get stiffed for $250. I hate to think what next year’s tax hike will be. 20% or 30% or more ?????

posted by: 1644 on September 6, 2018  10:05am

Predictably, Honda Smith’s idiocy has hit the national press:


MakeNew has also taken this dispute to SeeClickFix, where Sabrina declared it closed.

posted by: 1644 on September 6, 2018  10:27am

MakeNew:  Both people and dogs can control when they answer the call of nature.  Male dogs in particular will ration their urine when on a walk to make as many scent marks as possible, rather than empty their bladders all at once.  I have always found that whenever my dog started to lift his leg or squat in a place where they shouldn’t, such as on a trail or someone’s lawn, a sharp “NO”, a tug on a leash, or a tap to his rear leg with my foot dissuaded them, at which point I could direct them to a more appropriate place.  If your dog is suddenly, and uncontrollably receiving hisself, you have left your dog too long in a place is trained not to go, such as in an apartment.  Again, if you are a responsible dog owner, you won’t have a dog unless you also own a place where the dog can relieve himself.  Streets should not be bathrooms, either for people or dogs.  That concept stinks.

posted by: MakeNewHavenGreatAgain on September 6, 2018  11:46am

1644: not all dogs are the same, some have different bladders issues depending upon there health age and breed. Some can be trained better than others.  The world is not a perfect world and a majority of the pee will fall between the cracks.

Being upset about pee on the sidewalk, or on a plant is ridiculous. The streets are covered in pee, the city of new haven was practically built on the backbone of pee and poop filled streets. To think you can keep the streets as clean and sterile as a hospital is a form clean extremism that only I can’t relate to the mental disease germophobia.

I think your ideals are a bit finatic, come back to the real world and realize that the soles of your shoes are covered in the pee and poop of all of gods creatures.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on September 6, 2018  2:59pm

posted by: MakeNewHavenGreatAgain on September 6, 2018 12:46pm

Being upset about pee on the sidewalk, or on a plant is ridiculous. The streets are covered in pee, the city of new haven was practically built on the backbone of pee and poop filled streets. To think you can keep the streets as clean and sterile as a hospital is a form clean extremism that only I can’t relate to the mental disease germophobia.

It is not ridiculous in some states.In fact in some states you can get a fine for spitting on the side walk.

Sunday May 5, 1996: N.Y. Law;No Spitting!


In Massachusetts, you can be fined up to $20.

link https://malegislature.gov/laws/generallaws/partiv/titlei/chapter270/section14

In Virginia, expectorating in public is considered a class 4 misdemeanor and you can potentially be fined $250 for it.

link http://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title18.2/chapter7/section18.2-322/

NYC Cops Ticket Man For Spitting.

A man standing outside the Sutter Av-Rutland Road 3 train station films a glob of spit and the two officers who are writing him a violation for it.

“What is it, a violation?” he asks.

“A violation, exactly,” one officer replies.

When the man asks the officer where he spits, the officer replies, “Trashcan, man.”


posted by: 1644 on September 8, 2018  1:27pm

I may have fallen through a worm hole into an alternate universe: it appears 3/5’s and I are on the same side in this discussion.

MakeNew:  No, pee on plants and sidewalks is not harmless.  Urine is salty and acidic, and kills plants.  A single dose will not do much harm, but given that dogs scent mark where others have, the cumulative effect is deadly.  Any dog owner with a small yard will show you the dead spot caused by his dog’s urine. and those in neighborhoods with lots of sidewalk dog walkers can show you dead, yellow spots by the sidewalk/roadside where dogs pee.  Water and lime can counter the effects, but only somewhat.  As for concrete, salt and acid dissolve the chemical bonds that hold it together,  The effects are not as fast as on plants, but still there. 
  Solid waste can spread disease.  The waters near me are often closed to swimming and shellfishing due to e-coli from dog and goose waste washed down storm drains and off water and riverine lands.  The big culprits may be dog walkers putting dog waste in trash cans near storm drains rather than carrying it home with them.

  You may call me a fanatic, but I think its perfectly reasonable to ask animal owners to have proper accommodations for their animals, rather than using others’ and public property to accommodate their animals.  One of the great advantages of the motor car is that our streets are no longer filled with horse dung and pee.  My wife would love to have a horse.  Our garage was originally a barn, but what was once perfectly acceptable no longer is: my neighbors wouldn’t appreciate the smell.  Moreover, we don’t have the field needed to exercise a horse.  So, we live within the constraints of our neighborhood and finances, rather than get the pet we would like.
  BTW, no, I don’t freak out if I step in dog waste, but it’s inconvenient if I am dressed for work, getting in a car, etc. Also, I suspect I have shoveled more manure than you.

posted by: robn on September 9, 2018  12:15am


Red herring alert. Our waters are harmed by overuse of fertilizer and pesticides exponentially higher than animal waste runoff. As is concrete by overuse of snow salt. to restate, Responsible dog walkers bag dog waste and this incident was about urine.

posted by: 1644 on September 9, 2018  8:47am

robn:  Well, NHI comments often veer off course, and the article is really about New Haven’s bizarre interpretation of “nuisance” to persecute a businessman.  Yes, fertilizers and pesticides do pollute are waters, and any salt, whether it be raid salt or salt in urine, corrodes concrete.  As for bagging waste, the question is why one does with it after bagging it.  The best disposal is putting it in your toilet at home where it will be treated with other sewage.  Not good is leaving it in a public trash can near a storm drain.  For areas with combined sanitary and storm drains, it’s not a problem.  In my neighborhood, however, we have separate systems, and the drains lead directly to the Sound. Since animal waste, unlike fertilizer and pesticides, contains bacteria like e-coli, heavy rains lead to high bacteria counts.  The public trash can, often filled with dog waste, has rain water flow from top to bottom, or worse, fill partially, soaking the waste filled bags, with polluted water exiting more slowly than it enters.  My neighborhood has had several meetings with our health department regarding this problem.
  As with most pollution, the key is density.  One dog peeing once won’t kill the grass,  peeing every day will.  (The saying “The solution to pollution is dilution” still applies in most cases.)

posted by: Russia Exit Crimea on September 10, 2018  1:22pm

Not too long ago New Haven was known as the city where a guy found some money and returned it to a realtor. I loved that story. Now we are the city that has K2 and irresponsible dog owners?