A Southern California mayor who was caught on camera tossing a bag of dog feces on his neighbor’s property has apologized, but some don’t believe that mayor’s words are sincere.
Dennis Kneier is mayor of San Marino, a town just south of Pasadena that is considered one of the nation’s wealthiest communities. According to San Marino Police, Kneier was seen on surveillance video tossing the plastic bag into the private walkway of a home in 1400 block of Charlton Road Saturday in an act that appeared to have been intentional.
"I apologize, and it won't happen again," Kneier said.
According to Kneier, he was on his way home from a park just three blocks away when he came across a bag of dog poop.
"A moment of not thinking, of bad judgment, instead of me carrying it all the way home or having just left it there in the first place," Kneier said. "That’s not my nature just to walk by trash and not pick it up, cause I always do."
Some residents at the San Marino Garden Club told NBC4 Tuesday that they don’t believe Kneier, and said that "he’s always controversial."
The homeowner, Philip Lao, believes that Kneier was seeking revenge for his opposition to the mayor’s dog park proposal. Lao is against the dog park because he believes dogs are left there for hours as their owners run errands, and the dogs tend to fight when left unattended.
Lao has "no poop zone" signs in front of his lawn, in close proximity to where the bag of dog feces was left. The mayor has said he does not like the signs in Lao’s yard, but that there is no law against it.
"San Marino mayor’s apology started off with a bold lie," Lao said in an email to NBC4 Tuesday night.
Lao continued, saying the mayor’s claim that he picked up the plastic bag near Lao’s residence was simply untrue.
"(Kneier) did not know our camera covers a good 10 feet past the lamp post and it does not show him picking anything near there," Lao said.
In the video, Kneier’s wife is seen pointing to Lao’s walkway, and then Kneier is seen tossing the bag onto it. Lao said that the bag was tossed "right in front of our side gate, with a ‘no poop’ sign near the flowers."
"Now he says he might be tired of carrying this half pound bag of dog waste," Lao said. "This is while he is carrying a big briefcase in his left hand which should weigh 20 times the weight of the poop."
Lao also claims to have copies of voicemail messages from city employees "threatening dire consequences" if he did not remove the "no poop zone" signs.
"I was not sure about filing charges of vandalism and littering, but now (Kneier’s) lies have forced me to defend my honor and add harassment charges against him and the city," Lao said.
San Marino Police are investigating the incident. Kneier said Tuesday that he has not been formally questioned. Kneier could face fines for littering.
NBC4's Conan Nolan contributed to this report.