Whenever someone wants to disparage Paris, he inevitably brings up the problem of dog poop (more formally referred to as les crottes de chien) in the streets. I’ve never given this much credence, since I’ve been to Paris a half-dozen times and never noticed a particular problem. Since 2002, it’s been mandatory to pick up after your pooch, with stiff fines of $238-$585 for failing to do so. Naturally, some dog-owners feel this doesn’t mean them, and Parisian gendarmes are lax in enforcing the law.
Several years ago, the city spent some $8 million dollars a year on a squadron of 70 scooters — les caninettes — who patrolled Paris, vacuuming dog waste from the streets and sidewalks. Problem solved, until some of the citizenry (with or without dogs, I wonder) balked at paying the tab, and the squad was disbanded.
Last year, a Facebook page was set up to lobby for the reestablishment of the caninettes return: Pour le retour des motocrottes. Yes, that’s correct — the return of the poop scoots. I don’t know about you, but I gave it a “Like.”