Houston City Council gives OK to Dumpster diving

HOUSTON - Dumpster diving in the city of Houston will no longer land you in trouble with the law.

Houston City Council held a new vote on the decades-old ordinance Tuesday morning. The decision to de-criminalize Dumpster diving was approved by just one vote.

"It was a question of whether or not it should be criminal for a homeless person for example to fish through a public trash receptacle," said David Feldman, Houston City Attorney. "This became a matter of de-criminalizing that behavior."

By a narrow vote, City Council members voted fishing through public trash cans is not a crime.

This comes after homeless veteran James Kelly, went through the trash for a doughnut last month and ended up with a citation.

"It was so ridiculous," said Shere Dore, an advocate for the homeless. "We had people like Whoopi Goldberg standing up and saying this is not right. He was just looking for food."

However, others were not pleased with the decision.

"It's good for the police to keep people out of trash cans," said Oliver Pennington, Council Member for District G. "There are health issues, safety issues. That's emphasized by what happened in Boston. The police ought to have some sort of jurisdiction to have control of the trash cans."

It's still illegal to go through private trash cans and Dumpsters, recyclables or trash cans put out on the curb for collection.

It is also still against the law to take everything out of trash cans and litter city streets.

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