A nonprofit organization is working with a Vision Sonora subcommittee to address a longstanding problem in the city — dog poop.

The Tuolumne County Land Trust has offered to provide “dog-waste stations” at locations within the city limits that will hopefully encourage pet owners to clean up their animal’s mess by making it easier to do so.

“We’re going to at least provide the capability for the dog owner to pick up the waste and either take it home, or we have trash cans along Washington Street,” said Sonora Mayor Connie Williams, who is also chairwoman of the Vision Sonora Committee as well as its design and marketing subcommittee.

Williams said the design and marketing subcommittee has recommended stations that provide bags for dog waste that wouldn’t have trash receptacles attached to them because the subcommittee felt that would make the stations too large.

The subcommittee is waiting to hear back from the trust on how many stations it will be able to provide before selecting locations for them, Williams said.

At a public meeting in March, the Sonora City Council unanimously approved the trust’s offer to provide the stations and referred the matter to the subcommittee for suggested locations and style.

The trust has offered to donate one dog waste station — estimated to cost about $200 each — and raise money for at least two additional stations, according to the proposal. Williams said the subcommittee is hoping to raise enough money for about six stations total.

The council will then have to approve the style and locations once they are finalized, according to minutes from the meeting.

Merchants supported the proposal from the trust at a monthly town hall meeting in February. The issue has also been a focal point at many of the past meetings of the city’s homeless task force.

Williams said she didn’t believe the issue with dog waste was specifically related to homelessness.

“I think that with any type of concern that takes place in the historic part of Sonora, it’s easy enough to be able to express that concern at any public meeting,” Williams said. “I don’t think it had anything to do with the homeless. There are many people who are dog owners and love to walk up and down Washington Street, so let’s care for the city and care for the animals.”

The trust stated in its proposal that it has an interest in providing the stations for the sake of public health and safety, taking care of local watersheds and public spaces, and reducing unattractive nuisances.

An all-volunteer organization, the trust was awarded a $350,000 grant from the state to purchase a conservation easement in 2015 for preserving the historic Ratto Ranch property just outside of the city limits.

Contact Alex MacLean at amaclean@uniondemocrat.com or (209) 588-4530.

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