Posted by / Category Cultural Differences /

Somehow it is always on a Monday morning that shit happens. Literally. Today, I walked in dog poop right after finishing the school run, as I was rushing to start my day. What a stonking start of the day! Well, in fact, I meant stinking. And then it dawned on me: in Paris, I had learned to avoid dog poo on my shoes. I had my eyes riveted on the sidewalk in order to avoid such souvenirs, and I always had a pack of tissues just in case. Because, of course, despite doing my utmost best, it was happening from time to time. 

In London, most dog owners clean after their dog and carefully pack the dog poop in little plastic bags. Some plastics bags are left on the street but most are put in a bin. I am ashamed to admit that, over here, I have forgotten to watch out for dog poop. Silly me. That said, stepping in dog crap hadn’t happened to me for a very, very long time. Well, lesson learned, I need to be more careful over here too.

The problem was such a plague in Paris that, until a few years ago Paris had a fleet of ‘motocrottes’. (Ah, memories!) I am told that motocrottes still exist in some cities. The motocrotte is a small vehicle (usually a motorcycle, but I have seen small vans too) designed to vacuum up or clean dog crap. Apparently, there are no more motocrottes in Paris, because if you don’t clean after your dog you risk a hefty fine of €500. That said, the fine is far from being a deterrent, and I think that you can count on your hands the amount of dog owners who have had to pay it. In short, when in Paris, watch your steps.

On the bright side, apparently this means that I will have luck. Right. What a start! Let’s hope it doesn’t get any worse…
Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London
  • Which person decided that meant good luck? The one who only stepped in one mess for the day- and therefore felt elated to have missed an encore performance?
    I’m waiting for the dog poo DNA test that will fine owners after examination and removal. 🙂

    • It is indeed disgusting! That said, I am glad that I had forgotten how it felt!

  • This is hysterical, understandable and actually pretty nice. Although it would be helpful if people would just clean up after their pooches’ poopses them-damn-selves. In Charleston the carriage horses are required to wear a poop bag. If they pee the driver puts down a little flag and the city has someone going around looking for the little flags spraying disinfectant and air freshener on it. It makes you realize how bad the streets must have smelt back before cars…

    • I totally need to visit Charleston. It sounds great. Air freshener? Way to go!!!

  • Well, all I can say is that at least you were wearing shoes! I’ve had mornings where I’d step in my own animals excrement inside the house – UGH! I can’t imagine how degrading a mottocrottes drivers job must be, having to clean that up all day long. Why can’t people just clean up after their dogs? I do hope your day improves!

    • You are right, it could have been worse. Sigh. The day was better, in the end!!!

  • I took one look at your header photograph and thought

    Hollande has a new disguise…

    Pity it’s not a new job….

    • A pity indeed! He could have used a motocrotte to visit Gayet. Maybe nobody would have caught him?

  • Good luck? I think it depends which foot you step in on… If it’s the left one you’re fine ah ah ! I actually can’t believe I’m discussing dog shit… In Ireland you can get a fine as well, and to be honest I don’t see much dog poop on the pavement which leads me to believe Irish people are quite civilized in that regard…

    • When can I come to Ireland? London is becoming less and less ‘civilised’, as you say…

  • We live in the middle of nowhere. A dog walk involves a greater chance of losing your wellies in mud than stepping in dog poo. Consequently I am always caught out when we take any of our dogs into town. I have stashes of bags everywhere, in the car, in every coat pocket. Yet somehow when the newfoundland drops a turd the size of a small puppy I am usually reduced to picking it up with two tissues and the remains of a bus ticket.

  • Oh well, in India we consider it good luck if you’re struck with pigeon shit! Can’t say the same about dog poo though, lol! (that too stepping in it yourself)! 🙂

    • Pigeon poo? Yeeeerk! It happened to a friend of mine in London. Not nice.

  • I wonder how the fine is administered. Does the dog have to poo within sight of a policier or can the public dénonce the event by using their phone camera. It all sounds like a communication campaign with nothing underneath. This is normal for this government.

    I hope you managed to get your shoes cleaned up. It helps that it rains a lot so there’s always a handy puddle…

    • You are right, things are easier in London: there is always a puddle somewhere!

  • I dream of seeing dog owners picking up their dogs’ offerings, but in our village in the South of France you can forget it. A lot of dogs here live in the owners’ gardens and are left to their own devices all day, so they jump the fence and walk themselves (I spent my first year here phoning the owners and dog sitting until they turned up to collect them, and now I’ve given up ‘cos my name’s not Brigitte Bardot). Many of the rare dog owners who use the black bags actually bag the poop then leave the bag and its contents on the pavement. On the other hand, I was escorted off the beach with my dog yesterday because dogs weren’t allowed there – even in January! Welcome to France….

    • Welcome to France indeed! That said, I am quite surprised that they pick up the poo. It didn’t happen when I was living in France. Maybe things have improved, after all?

  • In the neighborhood where I live, NO ONE picks up their dog crap. It’s horrible and annoying and people are starting to call by-law officers in on it. I just stay on the sidewalk and hope there’s nothing on it!

    • Well, that’s exactly what I was doing in France…good luck!

  • This morning there was a massive pile of fox crap on the stairs outside our flat. Luckily, the caretaker of the building took care of it. So gross!

    • Well, you have a good caretaker…I can’t believe that there are still foxes in London…

  • My bug bear!!!People who don’t pick up after their dog.I’ve had the misfortune last week to get my son pushchair wheel cover in it ,gross!!Remind me of one episode of Sex and the city where Carrie lives in Paris and is in love with the city until she steps in dog poo….