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Parisians urged to be 'accountable' for dog poo

Sophie Inge · 4 Mar 2013, 14:45

Published: 04 Mar 2013 14:45 GMT+01:00

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The mayor of the French capital has launched a new poster campaign aimed at tackling the age-old problem of dog poo on the streets of Paris.

Visitors to the French capital have long complained about the unsightly problem and in recent months authorities in the city have stepped up their attempts to get dog owners to clean up after their mutts.

Late last year mayor Bertrand Delanoë announced he was doubling the financial penalty handed out to those who did not clean up after their pooch from €35 to €68. But in its latest move, the Town Hall has changed its tactics, hoping to remind dog owners to spare a thought for the city’s legion of over-burdened street cleaners.

Aimed at “raising awareness by drawing commuters’ attention to the daily work of street cleaners”,  the posters feature a smartly-dressed woman leading a dog away from a pile of excrement as a street cleaner appears behind them as if by magic to clear up the mess.  

Above the photo is the slogan: “We can do the best we can, but not the impossible” followed by: “Street cleaners clean behind us so let’s avoid leaving dirt behind them [dogs].”

“This is a campaign about accountability,” a spokesman for the Town Hall told The Local. “It’s about our collective role. The last campaign emphasized the punishment but this is more about people’s responsibility.”

French daily Le Parisien believes there may be an ulterior motive to the poster campaign. The newspaper ponders whether the mayor no longer wants to risk the wrath of Parisians by fining them and instead has opted for a softer approach because the crucial municipal elections are being held next year.

However, the Town Hall spokesman told The Local this accusation was “bullshit”.

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“We will continue to hand out fines to dog owners who flout the law, " the spokesman added. "The number of financial penalties handed out in recent years has increased from 19,255 in 2009 to 21,673 in 2011.”

Will dog poo soon become a rarity on the streets of Paris? Read The Local's list of other French habits and traditions under threat.

Sophie Inge (sophie.inge@thelocal.com)

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