Culture Magazine

Paris: Dog Shit Poop Capital of the World

By Sedulia @Sedulia

Photo by Ggugg, flickr. The sign says "I like my neighborhood: I pick up." Someone has crossed out "my neighborhood" and written "shit." At the bottom is the regulation that 100% of dog owners in Paris disobey, and the alleged fine for this.

Some people think it's provincial to talk about how Paris's sidewalks are the filthiest in the civilized world. Those people either have dogs and don't clean up after them, or don't live here. Parisian dog owners are appallingly willing to let their dogs foul the sidewalks. As I have written elsewhere, in more than twenty years in Paris I have seen people pick up after their dogs exactly five times, and one of those was an Englishman on the rue de Rivoli, a major arcaded tourist thoroughfare.

Paris lovers try not to notice the dog poop everywhere, but they have to be careful anyway. In my neighborhood, if you don't have your eyes riveted on the sidewalk as you walk, you will have a nasty surprise on your shoes when you get home. Hundreds of people a year wind up in the hospital after slipping in the dog poop. One of them was our ancient concierge, who died from the fall.

The mayor has tried to crack down on the dog owners. This sign for example warns of a €3000 fine. That'll be the day! I have never heard of anyone getting a ticket. Right after the policy began, my son's friend Paul did get a verbal warning once but he took to his heels with his father's dog Indy and the contractuel didn't chase him. Since then, the sidewalks have not gotten any cleaner around here. Every day it's an obstacle course. Some streets are worse than others. Once I was visiting an apartment on rue de la Faisanderie in the 16th arrondissement and my friend said she almost hadn't taken the apartment because of all the dog poop on the street. "It's not worse here than anywhere else!" said her neighbor indignantly. As I walked out of the building, I met the gardienne muttering loudly as she swept off a particularly huge, gloppy crotte right in front of the grand entrance.


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