Public urination a steady stream of money for island village

Put-in-Bay police cited 32 individuals for public urination this summer, generating at least $5,280 in fines.
Alissa Widman Neese
Sep 15, 2013


Don’t take a pee if you can’t pay the fee.

Put-in-Bay police cited 32 individuals for public urination this summer, generating at least $5,280 in fines for the tiny village, according to a Register analysis of Put-in-Bay police reports.

A public urination fine ranges from $80 to $150, in addition to an $85 court fee, said Karen Goaziou, Put-in-Bay clerk of courts. If an individual chooses not to appear in court, they are automatically fined $80 and the $85 court fee, making most fines $165.

The fines funnel into the village’s general fund, which is about $1.5 million a year, Goaziou said. Some could argue the minor misdemeanor charge, and relatively minuscule fine, is quite the bargain.

Until about 2000, Put-in-Bay did not have a public urination ordinance, so police charged each individual caught urinating in public with public indecency, a more serious misdemeanor often requiring culprits to register as sex offenders for exposing their genitals, said Don Dress, Put-in-Bay police public relations officer.

Many cities and villages still abide by that policy, but in Put-in-Bay, the frequency of citations issued during the island’s weekend nightlife compelled the department to implement a lesser offense, Dress said.

As with many crimes, whether a police officer cites an individual with public urination during an encounter is up to each officer’s discretion.

Many individuals who urinate in public receive only warnings, not citations, Dress said.    “We always run their IDs in our system to make sure they don’t have warrants or anything like that, but it’s up to (the officer) to decide whether they deserve a ticket,” he said.

Of the 32 individuals police cited with public urination this summer, only one received an additional criminal citation. Thomas Lear, 37, of Amherst, was also cited for disorderly conduct intoxicated because the incident occurred while he caused a ruckus for refusing to leave Beer Barrel Saloon on Delaware Avenue, according to a police report.

Most often, public urination is perpetrated by men walking outside near the village’s downtown bars, with the culprits possessing few, if any, criminal intentions, according to details provided in police reports.

Elliot Herog, of Illinois, perhaps said it best while police confronted him as he urinated on a DeRivera Park tree at about 11 p.m. June 8, according to a Put-in-Bay police report.

“I had to go,” Herog told police while he zipped up his pants. “When you have to go, you have to go.”

Public officials are quick to note the multitude of public restrooms available for island visitors, including a large bathhouse in the middle of DeRivera Park — coincidentally, the most frequent location police catch individuals publicly urinating.

“We have public restrooms in town hall and every restaurant establishment has a restroom as well,” Goaziou said. “There are plenty of bathrooms available.”

Put-in-Bay public urination statistics

• Individuals cited this summer: 32

• Average age: 29

• Gender: 30 men, 2 women

• Hometown: 7 out-of-state, 25 in-state

• Most frequent location: DeRivera Park

Friendly chatter
The Register asked its Facebook friends for their thoughts on public urination citations:

• Paula Mahr: Sometimes the line is just too long I guess.

• Susanna Sharp-Schwacke: 32 people failed in potty training? Seriously, use a freaking bathroom.

• Mamacate Matsushima: Let my people pee!

• Tony Cummings: Easily solved. Walk into the lake, waist deep. Do your business. Walk out of the lake. Party on.

• Brenda Smith: When you gotta go, then go. It’s better than holding it in.

• Todd Algie Young: This seems to be a problem everywhere and at festivals and concerts with all kinds of places to eat and drink. What goes in has to come out! It’s about time the health department or some other government entity makes it a law that so many public restrooms, latrines, rest areas, etc. are required.

• Matthew Schweinfurth: It’s part of nature, just like breast feeding.

• Skip Ott: It’s a revenue maker. If you give the police department a hard time, you’re going to get a ticket.

• Diane Reardon: More public restrooms is my first thought...

• Jody Eckler: Put-in-Bay has a lot of public restrooms right in the park. So I’m thinking the reason for the public urination is the same reason you see “having sex in the parking lot” in their police blotter so often!


Tool Box

"A public urination fine ranges from $80 to $150". Does it range for duration of stream?

From the Grave

Double the fine if they urinate on a headstone.


Now if we could just fine people for diarrhea of the mouth.



Stop It

I'm not sure if it's still this way, but that bath house was ALWAYS crowded, not to mention it used to cost a quarter to use the facilities. What if you don't have one? If one has been drinking, mother nature doesn't wait for correct change. :)


toilets are free...charge is to use showers

looking around

If only they knew who was peeing in the pool bars!


I bet that place stinks to high heaven, And where is the health department on this one?


Clearly you've never been there. The village is kept clean. What's done at night is cleaned in the morning.
People aren't urinating in the middle of the building or the kitchen. The health department isn't going to be of much assistance in regards to people urinating in a park. That's what the police that are doing their jobs are for.


Clearly, the are more skanky drunks than there were years ago, when I was there. Frankly, when a place gets the moniker of Pissin' Bay. I don't want to be there. Somebody needs to either build more restrooms or bring in Porta pots.

Really, how do you know people aren't peeing in the middle of the hotels? How about the park benches.

I guess a stroll through the park is out ,huh?

The Big Dog's back

Why don't they take some of that fine money and build more restrooms?


That is a good question, the only answer I can think of is because they money off of the fines.


Wow, what a great way to attrack tourist. Grow up people. Just what everybody wants to see on a vacation.


I don't see anyone attacking tourists here but if you've ever had to deal with an obnoxious one, you wouldn't be defending them. While you're on vacation, we're working our butts off for minimum wage. Thanks so much for not leaving a tip.


New name for put in bay---pissin bay

dorothy gale


The New World Czar "overstate the obvious" AP article to headline the SR today?


Such a "classy" Sunday paper. Your headline in the hard copy edition reads "URINE IN THE MONEY" while your Sunday Editorial cites the "Third Amendment" in regard to the right to bear arms. Not surprisingly, the Register doesn't allow us to comment on that editorial.

There are six people on your editorial board. Not one of the six caught the obvious citation error i.e it's the Second Amendment that addresses the right to bear arms not the Third Amendment and probably thought the headline was "cute".

The First Amendment protects the right of your six member Editorial Board to publish the natural by product of your collective thought processes i.e to children known as number two. In my opinion your board owes the reading community an apology

Capt. Ford

I second the motion,all in favor?


Great headlines from a great paper. Here is some information on their editorial today. The evidence in the Register's Sunday editorial is clear. They need to actually read the Constitution. The editorial staff was discussing gun rights when they say they support the 3rd Amendment. The 3rd Amendment to the Bill of Rights has to do with quartering soldiers in our homes. At first it may appear they made an error but they repeat it three times in their brain dead editorial. How can we have an intelligent discussion when it is a
self evident truth that the editorial staff does not know what they are talking about. They go on to say the support the 3rd Amendment when they really mean the 2nd Amendment. They support it BUT there comes the exceptions on that which shall not be infringed. They saythey don't believe that states should keep lists of CCW holders secret. Well, states only do that because newspapers, as in the case of the Register, published all the names of CCW holders in Erie County. That is a clear violation of safety by giving those of nefarious intent a road map for location of guns let alone a
woman trying to protect herself from an abuser. Its a blatant tactic of intimidation of guns owners to inhibit their ability to defend themselves with a CHL, via public newspaper exposure. I for one will believe the Register Editorial Staff supports the 2nd Amendment when they publish the secret list of the names and addresses of their own homes in Erie County. Their thin veil of hiding behind the 1st Amendment to attack the 2nd Amendment is just that, a thin veil. They go on to say that their were muskets when the 2nd Amendment was written and now their are many different arms compared to back
then. Maybe the Register should go back and print using the Guttenberg Press. Back then there was no mass media as TV, mega newspapers, internet, radio and huge printing presses. Maybe the register editorial staff should have to pass a background check before they are allowed to exercise the 1st
Amendment and publish the next editorial and have a 5 day waiting period while they actually verify their bogus data on the Constitution.

Darwin's choice

Attaboy Mattie....!

Licorice Schtick

To provide some context, this was the lead story in the print edition. It has a different but equally punny headline - "Urine the money"

Plain Dealer lead story today - "U.S., Russia reach deal on weapons"

Being taken seriously is overrated.

"The longer you hold your urine, the bladder can become a breeding ground for bacteria to grow," Dr. Bali says. This bacteria can lead to infections, which can spread to kidneys and cause greater damage to the body."
"Another cause of bladder infections or UTI is holding back urine."

Don't let stupid laws affect your health.


I hought a while back that SPD officer did this in the bay and was told its not against the law to public urinate whos right and whos wrong?

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

I forget the comedian who said it but I cracked up at one of his jokes. It went something like:

"The difference between walking and hiking is that hiking is walking where you can pee."

That alone is amusing though he got in a double punch line by saying, "Sometimes old people go for hikes and don't even know it."


That wasn't funny.


URINE THE MONEY ! Truly the Sandusky Register has hit a new low, is this the best that you can do for the headline on the Sunday Edition ??


Wonder what all the booze/binge drinking is doing to their health?