BRADENTON -- Subtle and not-so-subtle signs may be placed along the Palma Sola Causeway to remind horseback riders that the only evidence officials want to see of horse activity are hoofprints -- nothing more.
"Some people don't respond well to subtlety," said Claude Tankersley, Bradenton's public works director. He showed the Bradenton City Council a red sample sign that reads "Leave Only Hoofprints" with images of trailing hooves.
Tankersley received the council's OK to seek a permit from the Florida Department of Transportation to place signs along the causeway noting anti-littering laws, particularly for horse owners and riders who do not pick up their animals' manure.
"I got the scoop on the poop," Councilman Gene Gallo joked before telling the council about a meeting he chaired Monday with the city attorney, the nonprofit Keep Manatee Beautiful and state officials.
Local officials have received complaints from residents about horse manure littering the causeway.
"It's a problem on the sidewalk, on the beach where kids are playing out there," Gallo said.
Tankersley said the signs would be easy to make and inexpensive. To make sure the message gets across clearly, there is another proposed sign that states: "Clean up after your horse." The letters are written in red and below it is the image of a person on a horse. The laws mandating the cleanup will be identified at the bottom of the sign.
"We don't want sign pollution," Tankersley added. "We are not going to litter the area with signs."
William Lisch, Bradenton city attorney, has said that first-time violators could face a minimum fine of $100 in addition to community service that would consist of cleaning up the horse manure.
"Put the signs up," Mayor Wayne Poston said.