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The Paradox of Poop and the Urban Dog

When I spent some time in France in my early 20s, the ever-presence of dog poop on city sidewalks never ceased to amaze me.  This was worst in Paris, where population is dense and there’s less green space for four-legged poopers, but I noticed it even in smaller towns like Perpignan (where I had the (mis)fortune of being stuck for over a month).  It’s probably not fair to pin this on the French — perhaps Europeans at large are more averse to picking up their animals’ poop than we are in the US.  Or is it even fair to compare the whole of the US to Europe?  Growing up in the Bay Area, and then later being a dog owner in Berkeley, I felt I had no reasonable alternative but to pick up my dog’s poop.  Not doing so would be an aggressive violation of Berkeley social norms, and I couldn’t see any way to leave the turds there without preparing a batshit-crazy-don’t-mess-with-me response for any concerned citizens who would undoubtedly chide me for leaving a trail of poop. Continue reading