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Politician moots dog-poop patrol for welfare recipients

The Local · 6 Apr 2010, 16:53

Published: 06 Apr 2010 16:53 GMT+02:00

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“What’s lying on the sidewalks and paths is disgusting,” the 56-year-old told daily Bild. “Public space should no longer be used as a sewer.”

Instead, some 20 welfare recipients per district should be appointed to check up on dog owners and ensure they are cleaning up after their pets.

“Instead of paid unemployment, people should be engaged in public service,” Hämmerling told the paper.

While the politician is likely to garner heavy criticism for her suggestion, dog piles are no small problem in the German capital city.

Up to 50 tonnes of pooch poop blankets the city's 4,000 kilometres of public sidewalks and squares each day, city sanitation services spokesperson Bernd Müller told daily Die Welt on Tuesday.

Hämmerling isn’t the first politician to suggest such controversial measures to employ those on the dole.

In February the FDP boss and vice-chancellor Guido Westerwelle declared that those young and healthy enough should be forced to do community work – possibly in the form of shovelling snow – or face an end to their benefits.

The FDP leader said at the time that much of Germany had been covered with snow and ice for weeks, preventing many old people from leaving their homes.

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"The city could send young people living on benefits to clear the pavements," Westerwelle told Bild. "Life can be this practical, but large sections of the political class have distanced themselves from such ideas."

Westerwelle also criticised the fact that only 2.6 percent of people on benefits are facing sanctions, although some surveys estimate that over 20 percent abuse the system.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

17:33 April 6, 2010 by berlinski
How about just taxing dog owners to pay for the clean up. Then the local authorities could afford to pay people to control dog owners instead of forcing people to do it. Getting Hartz IV recipients to do this would be counter productive. I cannot see them caring a toss about doing this job properly. Especially when the culprits with the dogs are probably their friends and neighbours.
17:36 April 6, 2010 by Thames
I think the poop in this picture is plastic.
17:57 April 6, 2010 by michael4096
I thought that we had evaluated slavery at leisure over 10,000 years or so and decided that it wasn't the world's greatest idea..
18:21 April 6, 2010 by Bensonradar
A popular idea, but that's all it is. Getting the unemployed to pick up litter or do other socially-helpful jobs such as the one above is a vote loser.

By the way, what is the level of Hartz IV welfare benefits for a single person living at home with their parents? Please let me know.
21:14 April 6, 2010 by Beynch
The fact that most dog owners are selfish and arrogant is known. Something MUST be done in Berlin, and elsewhere, to cure this environmental ill. How many time have I not stepped in this reeking doogie-doo and dragged it in on my Persian carpets. It is absoluetly sickening!!! How can dog owners be so inconsiderate??? Berlin is like a latrine! It has nothing to do with welfare recipients. It has to do with reigning in selfish dogowners, who MUST be made to assume responsibility for their Strassenkreutzer mutts. Heavy fines! Bring civility back to Berlin!
23:10 April 6, 2010 by Logic Guy
Well, it should be the responsibility of the dog's owner to remove that stuff. Here in the US, this is how most see it.

Germany is an modern, western nation. Surely they could understand the logic of being responsible for thier own pets.
06:56 April 7, 2010 by Bushdiver
@ berlinski.....Maybe you should get up to date with your info. There already is a tax on dog owners. Also what's the problem with making these career Hartz IV receipients do something for the money that is GIVEN to them? The fact that they may not take the job seriously is a joke in itself. They wouldn't take any form of work seriously. To the guy who steps in dog crap and then tracks it on to his Persian carpets. Do you sleep walk? I certainly can tell when I step in dog crap and I'm a dog owner as well.
08:21 April 7, 2010 by berlinski
Mr. or Mrs. Bushdiver. 1. A lot of Hartz IV recipients are not by choice recipients. Not all unemployed are bad. 2. Whilst I have almost always worked and am working at the moment, if I was in the unfortunate position of being a Hartz IV recipient and was told to do this dog control job, I would not take it seriously either. 3. Dog owners do pay a tax, but obviously they don't pay half enough to cover all the crap that needs to be cleaned up after their dogs. All us non dog owners are sick and tired of having to step around dog crap on the streets, parks, playgrounds etc. A higher tax would have two benefits which would also benefit dogs also. Firstly, less dog owners who cannot keep their dogs properly and secondly more finance to fund the clean up and to educate the existing dog owners.

As for the guy who accidentally steps on dog crap and tracks it onto his Persian carpets. Well, it can happen unknown to oneself and why should he be the one to need to watch out all the time for dog crap carelessly left lying around by unsociable dog owners.

09:29 April 7, 2010 by design
just what we need more rules in germany or more german people enforcing rules.give it a break people if there is do do in your way walk around it and go about your day.
11:17 April 7, 2010 by Edmond Schindler
In the mean time between 6-7 neighborhood cats use my yard for their toilet daily, nothing to stop the owners from letting their cats lose every evening on our neighborhood.

The dogs are all leashed but are "paused" on my lawn while they do their thing, never seen a single owner pick-up after their pet! Not once! I don't race out of the house anymore, just causes ugly feelings, I just watch from my kitchen table.

Future hopes:

I am building a circuit from the internet that generates an ultra-sonic sound to disperse animals and it claims - teenagers..it is supposed to be inaudible to adults.

I hope it slows the traffic across my lawn on the corner lot considerably.

The amount or trash from litterers equals the amount of dog and cat droppings. The smell that comes into any open window makes me gag when it's warm out. You can imagine how unpleasant it all looks. It was lovely while it was snowing, I dread it now that the snow is gone.
11:47 April 7, 2010 by DAVID T
Give the owners a massive fine if they don't pick it up - I live in Sweden and everybody picks up -
22:32 April 9, 2010 by PierceArrow
Hier ist ein besser Idee. Here is a better idea. Require all of the able-bodied welfare recipients to PICK UP the dog poop! (especially the Muslim descendants of Jerusalem Grand Mufti Hajj Amin Hosseini and his henchmen who collaborated with Hitler--the descendants who come to Germany, get copious government benefits, and then turn around and advocate violence against Jews and Christians). Make those welfare bums pick up the doggie-doo with pooper-scoopers and buckets, and deliver the poop to composting bins set up every few blocks in every German city. Then make the welfare bums apply the composted fertilizer on flower beds in German parks.
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