Tuesday, 14 March 2017

In and Out of the Merde


Warning: photos of dog poo.

'Thanks for the smell'. These signs have sprouted in a small public garden in Loches. They are hand-made or printed and laminated, presumably by the people who live next door to the garden and whose windows open out on to this view.
In the last year or so the campaign to rid French streets of dog poo has really started to gain ground. It is being pursued in equal measure by fed up local authorities, who are regularly reminding dog owners that they can pick up a supply of plastic bags from the town hall, and fed up citizens who are posting notices on their gates (or as these people have done, in the public garden next to their house).

'Poo goes in the bag -- it's not rocket science!' That's a loose translation to give you the idea. The French is a bit of a play on words which I struggled to adequately translate. The nuance is to do with the double meaning of the phrase 'dans le sac' (in the bag), which if you are caught red-handed is 'to have your hands in the bag', and also if the result is assured it's 'in the bag', the same as it would be in English.
More and more dog poo bins are being installed in public places and as a result, those who do the right thing, or don't own a dog, are becoming less and less tolerant of those who allow their dogs to excrete in the street. It will take a little time, because in the old days, the 'proper' thing to do was to manoeuvre your dog into the gutter if it needed to go. That way the poo got washed away by the street cleaners. However, as street cleaning methods change, the habits of dog owners must change. It is already making a difference, but we'll still be cautioning people to look where they put their feet for a while yet.

'Do the right thing!' and 'help yourself'. These dog poo plastic bag dispensers are beginning to appear in towns.
Wearing my entomologists hat I am ambivalent about the dog poo issue. After all, some of the best insects are attracted to poo, and my first sighting of the rare Purple Emperor butterfly Apatura iris (Fr. le Grand Mars changeant), for example, was on dog poo on the path in the Forest of Preuilly. Obviously in town though, it needs to be cleaned up.

Supposedly, it is 'good luck' if you stand in dog poo with your left foot. What idiot dreamt up that idea?

4 comments:

  1. It's a £1000 fine if you get caught in England and with all the cameras about these days would you take the risk? BUT people do all the time. There are very limited bag dispensers in England either! C

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    1. I hope the fine discourages the idiot practice of bagging the poo then chucking it over the nearest wall or hanging it from a bush. What do these people use for brains?

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  2. Here in southwest France I've noticed that the problem is much worse during tourist season. Are all those 'outsiders' who like to bring their dogs to the french countryside for their summer break thinking that they don't have to worry about this when it's not their town ?

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    1. We are completely non-touristy here, so don't have that problem. The people who need to change their ways are those who let their dogs out early in the morning to go and poo in their neighbours yard.

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