Paris used to be famous for its poopy sidewalks. As you strolled through the “City of Love” you had the pleasure of viewing large, small, dry or wet dog droppings. Everyone in Paris seems to have a little dog and with so few green spaces the result is inevitable. Occasionally you see a smear of poop where some poor soul had stepped into it and then tried to remove it from their shoe. The eyesore is by no means gone but it is much better than before. So what happened to reduce this blight of the Parisian streets?
In 1982 Paris’ mayor decided to provide a rapid mobile strike force that would clean up the streets and thus the Motocrotte or Caninette was born. The teams of green-suited city workers rode a fleet of small motorized vehicles which had a large tank at the rear for both the water and waste and used a vacuum-powered hose to suck up the droppings.
However, the project was abandoned in 2002. It was estimated at the time of their removal that the Motocrottes were only cleaning up 20% of dog feces (an estimated 15 tonnes is dumped on the streets every day). A 1998 study calculated that the cost to the taxpayer worked out at some $8.50 a kilo, or roughly 70 cents a turd. That did not include the healthcare bills and loss-of-earnings claims from the average 650 Parisian men and women hospitalized every year after slipping on a dog deposit.
Paris enacted a law declaring dog poop illegal. Paris now fines dog owners up to 500 euros for not removing their dog feces. Parisians are “Henceforth obliged to remove immediately, by whatever means is appropriate, all deposits that said animal abandons on the public highway, including pavements and gutters, as well as in squares, parks, gardens and green spaces. Paris hygiene inspectors dole out on-the-spot fines to offending owners.