Shrubs planted to stop dog waste

Members of the First Luthern Church of Throggs Neck are hoping newly planted bushes will help the lawn along Bruckner Boulevard stay green.

Last month, several volunteers from the church and the Waterbury-LaSalle Civic Association planted a few rows of shrubs in front of the lawn to deter local dog owners from using the sod as a public toilet for their pets.

“The neighbors use that parcel as their own little public bathroom,” said Deborah Burke, secretary at the church. “It’s just awful over there. It’s a shame to not pick up after you dog, and to think, this is a house of God.”

The bushes are Barberry shrubs and should grow tall and thick enough to create a barrier. Thirty bushes were planted, mainly along the side of Bruckner Boulevard.

The church is a regular meeting place for dozens of community groups, and hosts many activities throughout the year. The unsightly dog waste was not only a problem when trying to mow the lawn or groom the property, it also made the church an unpleasant meeting place.

“Whatever activities we have going on, when you open the window the smell is just nauseating,” Burke said. “Hopefully the bushes will be large enough to deter people from letting their dogs use it.”

According to Burke, the problem has been ongoing for several years, but recently church officials approached the local civic association to see if anything could be done.

The association used some grant money donated by elected officials to purchase and the plants. They were installed by dozens of volunteers on November 20.

“One of our programs is a barrier program where we plant trees and shrubs in front of places that are hots pots for graffiti or dogs,” Mary Jane Musano, president of the association said.

“It was a wonderful gesture,” said Peter Urban, who volunteered to plant the trees and is in charge of maintaining the church grounds. “We have a lot of people who just walk their dogs over any grassy area, so this should block them, we hope.”

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