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Duisburg lawyers fight dog poop with flags

The Local · 1 Mar 2012, 17:16

Published: 01 Mar 2012 17:16 GMT+01:00

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Artur Hahn and Benjamin Pidde tagged the piles of poop with tiny white flags numbered from one to 15. The action took place Monday and since word has spread like wildfire, Pidde told The Local.

“We didn’t do it to get publicity for our office or anything like that,” Pidde said, noting that he and Hahn specialise in shipping law and don’t take on cases involving civil neighborhood disputes.

“We did it to call attention to the problem.”

Pidde said he and Hahn are not dog haters. Hahn has a golden retriever and several employees in their office also have dogs. One lawyer even brought her dog to work daily.

But they got tired of clients coming into their office and having to wipe the poop off their shoes because careless owners didn’t remove the excrement from a small piece of lawn in front of the office.

Asked why Germans don’t pick up after their dogs, when they generally have a reputation of being orderly and clean, Pidde said, “I think it’s because of shame. They are ashamed to touch the excrement. They have to overcome this.”

Laws in many German cities, including Duisburg, require dog owners to pick up after their pets, but lax owners are not fined. Pidde said he is not in favor of fining dog owners, but wants them to realise what a mess their pets make and that they have to clean it up.

“People have to take responsibility for this,” he said.

The unusual action was successful. Since the flags went up there has been no additional poop left on the lawn.

Story continues below…

People stop at the flagged area and take pictures and others have come into the law office to ask about the action.

Miriam Widman

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

18:28 March 1, 2012 by boopsie
Great idea. Dog waste is a huge problem in cities and their owners tend to disregard the problem. How would you like it if my kid went to the toilet in front of your house
19:31 March 1, 2012 by karldehm
I used to live in Canada where they can fine you up to $2,000 for each offense. You can

get part of the fine for reporting the offenders. Maybe, a similar system would help in Berlin. Unemployed, Hartz IV recipients and homeless people would a chance to supplement their income besides collecting empty bottles.

What do you think?
21:34 March 1, 2012 by Karl_Berlin
Hi karldehm,

Your comments are wrong on so many levels it's not even real, so I'll assume you are joking?
22:24 March 1, 2012 by derExDeutsche
White Flags? Are they surrendering? put out some Plastic baggies, so that dog walkers have something to pick the poop up with, would be more constructive. Then people might get the idea. White flags are just more targets for lifted legs and squatting butts. or sprinkle some hot cayenne pepper down in the location, dogs will avoid it.
22:52 March 1, 2012 by nemo999
Given all time it must have taken to mark all of the alleged dog poop in front of their offices, it is a wonder that they have any time for their clients, or maybe they do not have any clients and are using this as a stunt get get clients.
04:31 March 2, 2012 by catjones
there's another unsolved issue in Duisburg that should command the lawyer's attention.
06:30 March 2, 2012 by willowsdad
Beware lawyers with too much time on their hands.
06:48 March 2, 2012 by McM
Er...calling that a lawn is stretching the truth a wee tad.

A sign reading keep off the 'lawn' would keep their clients poo free.

Stop hounding the dogs! Get a life.
09:56 March 2, 2012 by Clausrock
Great results for an ongoing problem, clean up after yourselves
10:51 March 2, 2012 by raandy
It is a problem, only about 25% of the people pick it up.

Around my area someone goes around with a can of bright orange spray paint and sprays the piles.

There is little enforcement of dogs on leashes or cleaning up after them.

There is one lady that picks it up in a black plastic bag then ties a knot in the top of the bag and throws it under the nearest tree. There is a trash receptacle less than 50 meters away. I often wonder what goes through her head, most likely the wind.
11:25 March 2, 2012 by jg.
I'm a dog owner and agree with the lawyers. You don't actually have to touch dog poo if you use a poo bag correctly.

However, white flags area waste of time - the lawyers should fit one or more cameras in their offices, overlooking the area in question. Then put a sign outside warning that irresponsible dog owners will find video of their transgressions on YouTube.
12:07 March 2, 2012 by LancashireLad
This all comes back to the inherent "I don't give a poop(sic) about anyone else but me." That definitely applies to those I have seen allowing their dogs to "exercise" on or near playgrounds.
12:16 March 2, 2012 by karldehm

Why are my comments wrong?
17:00 March 2, 2012 by Fumiko
I'm glad to see someone bringing attention to this. I visit Berlin and other German cities frequently, and it's disgusting to see this and to have to be so careful where you step ! For a nation that is known for it's cleanliness and fastidiousness, the behavior of dog owners in Germany is unacceptable. Clean up your act, dog owners and clean up after your pets !
18:29 March 2, 2012 by moshe rosen
I live in Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin. One of the cleanest big cities I have lived in (7) in the last 45 years except for the mountains of dog poo. I watch people lose their dogs for 5 minutes while they take care of their business. We have many, many babies and small children here, it is not just disgusting, but is not a healthy practise. People step in it and bikes run over it spreading around a larger area.

I can only think that perhaps there needs to be a good deterrent to this really filthy practise.

A fine of 100 Euro, 1st time, 200 Euro, second time...... but who is going to enforce this?

Maybe a better way is to shame people. Do public service ads in the papers and the underground. Make it a un-hip thing to do. When you own a dog in the city it brings responsibilities with it, like making sure it's had it's vacinnes, keep it clean and give it love. Well, there doesn't seem to be a short supply of love as you watch the owners who really treasure their dog friends but how about showing this love to the other people who share the sidewalks with you. Maybe big wistles! See a pooper and blow your wistle! Shame them into cleaning up after their dogs.
19:49 March 2, 2012 by Berliner Mauer
The best deterent sign I have seen: "Please do not empty your dog here!" Whether or not it was effective...
23:28 March 2, 2012 by kalyaja
To: Der ExDeutsche, I live in Munich and there's dog tax that we pay to the city 100 Euro a year(for Kampfhund is 600 euro). In many public park the city provides the plastig bags dispensers next to the trash cans for dog owners to pick up the poop. Still many many dog owners don't care to pick up. They might think that since they already pay high enough dog tax, the city can do that job themselves. I have a dog and I pick up my dog's poop even it's in the bush. It's so disgusting to see lots of nice green areas where people could use to sit on the grassy field full of dog poops everywhere. And not only that, there're plenty on the sidewalk and street corners as well. It's really a shame. Whether it be white or red flags or plastic bags, they are no use if dog owners are irresponsible type people. The best solution is slapping a fine on the dog owners.
16:30 March 3, 2012 by derExDeutsche

don't even get me started with the whole 'Kampfhund' debate. As an owner and occasional breeder of American Bulldogs, that stuff really gets me angry. But I agree with you, fine them. 50 Euro fine will do it.
12:37 March 7, 2012 by Ruhetag
50 Euro fine sounds good. Third offense you lose your dog!
23:50 March 9, 2012 by PierceArrow
The SOIL organization in Haiti (oursoil.org) helps Haitian communities convert human poop into compost soil. They could give German dog owners some lessons on composting dog poop.
00:21 March 13, 2012 by qzyr2j
Ruhetag, so what happens to the dog taken from the people? I totally agree the situation is disgusting, I had a Labrador Retrieiver. One of the houses on our daily walking route had some crazy old guy who would come out & scream at me when we passed about the dog eliminating on his sidewalk. Only problem was that it was not my dog. My dog was trained to go in the field & I always cleaned up after her. So should I have been fined & maybe lost my dog because of this guy? How do you prove something like this?
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