By Jon Delano

MCCANDLESS (KDKA) — Nearly seven out of ten American families own a pet of which 75 million are dogs.

That’s a lot of barking and even more dog poop that humans are supposed to clean up.

“You wake up, you go in your yard, cut your grass, and all of a sudden you find a dog has done their business in your yard, and no one’s cleaned up after them,” says Rich Marasti of Robinson, who was walking his daughter’s dog.

Now McCandless officials are cracking down on all pet owners who allow their animals to become a nuisance to others.

“It’s a problem not only in McCandless but in other communities that you end up with a few pet owners that aren’t as responsible as we’d like,” McCandless town manager Bob Grimm told KDKA money editor Jon Delano on Friday.

A recently updated law declares animals that create offensive odors, habitually bark, or defecate on lawns are nuisances, with fines up to $500 and 30 days in jail.

The law doesn’t say so, but Grimm says owners must clean up after their animals.

“If the dog owner wouldn’t clean up after the dog, it would become a violation,” notes Grimm.

Jim Robinson, a McCandless resident walking his dog Amelia, has no trouble with the tougher penalties.

“In general, doesn’t bother me because when you have a pet you are responsible to the community to control the animal and have them behave in a reasonable fashion,” Robinson said.

Unleashed dogs and barking dogs get the most complaints from neighbors, says McCandless Police Chief David DiSanti.

But issuing citations is not their goal, noting police “use good common sense and discretion and try to amicably resolve every incident we have without having to give a citation.”

If you really want to let your dog run loose, try one of the many dog parks in the area.

There, a dog can be a dog, can run around all it wants, can bark all it wants, but you still have to clean up after it