Prague 3 goes to war against dog droppings

The district has made clean streets and grassy areas a new priority

If you check the Prague 3 Facebook page, the cover photo currently is a closeup of a brown paper bag warning dog walkers they can get fines up to Kč 10,000 for not cleaning up after their pets.

This is part of a new campaign launched March 1 by the Prague 3 Town Hall to battle dog droppings on the sidewalk in other public spaces. The Prague 3 district covers Žižkov as well as parts of Vinohrady, Vysočany and Strašnice.

While there have long been fines for not cleaning up after dogs in all districts of the city, they are often not enforced. Prague 3 is stepping enforcement by increasing cooperation with police and by using social media to spread the word.

The district is also increasing the distribution of bags to collect waste. These bags can be found on dispensers in parks and on streets, and are available at some district offices.

“The situation with dog droppings on the pavements in Prague 3 is unbearable. We have to start solving it. We want to be helpful by increasing the number of stands with bags and putting emphasis on cleaning not only on the sidewalks. An essential part of our effort will be repression of pollution of the public space,” Prague 3 Mayor Jiří Ptáček (TOP 09 / STAN) said.

Each district in Prague provides free bags to collect dog waste, and these vary in design.

Prague 3, as part of the new campaign, has redesigned both their paper bags. The bags, which come with a piece of cardboard to use as a scoop, carry the motto “Žižkov neni šiškov,” which roughly translates to Žižkov isn’t a place for loafs. The bags also have a circle with a line through it on top of a stylized silhouette of dog excrement. Another line of text thanks people for cleaning up.

The district is also distributing micro-thin plastic bags in a small carrier.

According to Prague 3 Town Hall, there are some 3,000 dogs registered in the district.

Most owners follow the law, but the minority create a problem. This becomes evident in the spring, when the frozen waste all thaws at once.

“Among the basic duties of dog owners are the cleaning of dog excrement. The vast majority of owners clean up their dog properly.
Unfortunately, there are also those who ignore the cleaning and make the lives of other citizens annoying. Pollution of the public space is a violation of public order, for which there is a fine of up to Kč 10,000, and a record of offenses is kept in the Criminal Register. The first fine this year was levied in the amount of Kč 2,000,” Prague 3 District Police Director Dušan Machoň said.

Some dog owners think that if they pay the local fees for registering a dog, they do not have to clean up after it. That is not the case. The fees collected by Prague 3 amount to Kč 1.6 million per year, while placing stands for bags and keeping them filled amounts to Kč 3 million. Cleaning streets with special vacuums for dog waste amounts to Kč 4.2 million per year.

There are 115 stands with bags in Prague 3, and a further 179 waste bins for bags. The district now has a form so people can report dirty streets that lack bags and bins. People can also report locations on the website or call the Environmental Department, or comment on Facebook.

While public response over social media has been positive, some people have complained about the plastic bags for contributing to the problem of plastic waste.

On Facebook, the Prague 3 district responded that the bags and waste should end up being incinerated to generate heat and electricity, so they won’t contribute to the plastic problem. The plastic bags were left over from the previous district administration, and the new administration says it looked into the ecological impact of using them and found it to be minimal.

In the entire city, Prague residents have almost 83,000 dogs in their homes, according to registration numbers for the first half of 2018. People usually have only one dog. The most popular names include Ben and Max, but Rocky and Rex are also common.

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