Local authorities in the suburb of Montereau-Fault-Yvonne have come up with a new way to fight the "plague" of dog poo, the long time scourge of the city's streets.
For the first time in France the growing legion of close-circuit television cameras will be put to use to crack down on dog owners who don't clean up after their mutts.
Deputy Mayor Yves Jégo told Le Parisien on Monday that “between 10 and 20 dog owners dirty the town. It’s a plague, the locals are always complaining to me about it.”
He estimates that the problem costs the town €200,000 a year in cleaning costs.
Clarifying the reasons for such extreme measures Jégo said, “We have already invested in a poster campaign and the distribution of rubbish bags to prevent the problem. It hasn't worked.
"There are still children stepping in it on the way to school. I hope that giving out fines will prompt dog owners to take responsibility.”
Dog owners caught on camera will first receive a warning, but if they become a repeat offender, they could find themselves paying a fine of €35.
Over the last 10 years the suburb, which has a population of 17,000, has seen the installation of 60 security cameras in the streets.
“They have reduced crime. I would never have installed them just for dog excrement. I use the technology to ensure a clean town. We can’t have street cleaners cleaning the streets all the time.”
Conversely, local police will have to be watching the cameras 24/7 to ensure they catch the doggy delinquents. Authorities will also take advantage of the round the clock surveillance to catch out locals parking on pavements or driving the wrong way down one way streets.
Local restaurant owner Nahim is against the new measure.
“I don’t support all these cameras, I get the impression that everything we do is being watched," he told Le Parisien.
It remains to be seen whether other local authorities in Paris will follow suit.
Earlier this year the mayor of the French capital launched a new poster campaign to urge dog owners to be more responsible.
Bertrand Delanoë also increased the fines for dog owners from €35 to €68 in a bid to stamp out the problem.
by Naomi Firsht