Dogs to get passports?

A dog can be seen in this undated Reuters image. 

From this month, dog owners in France’s city of Béziers will face a new restriction — they must carry “dog passports” when walking in certain central parts of the city.

A dog passport, The Washington Post said, is a document proving that a dog’s DNA is registered with the local government.

But why is the dog passport even needed?

The mayor of Béziers, Robert Ménard, decided to introduce the measure after he realised dog poop was ruining the historic town center.

If dog poop is found anywhere in the city, its administration will be authorised to test it to determine which dog was guilty of pooping recklessly.

Its owner will then be required to pay for the cleanup.

“I can’t stand it anymore,” Ménard told The Washington Post, adding that people not picking up after their dogs is a symptom of a lack of civility in France.

He said that if authorities do not enforce the rules, there will be no incentive for people to act in the public interest.

Apart from being unsightly and foul-smelling, dog feces left on streets also poses a public health risk since they carry microorganisms that can spread to other animals and people, sometimes causing disease.

There will, however, be a two-month grace period in which dog owners will be appraised of the new policy.

A person who leaves their dog’s poop behind will receive a bill for the city’s cleaning service worth 122 euros ($136).

Those who do not get their dog’s genetic passport made will be fined 38 euros ($43).

Authorities hope the threat of a fine will help reduce the time and money sanitation workers spend picking up dog feces in the streets — which they did 25,607 times in 2020, 39,847 times in 2021 and 21,313 times as of Nov. 30, 2022, according to the decree, The Washington Post reported, adding that every year, the city spends 80,000 euros ($89,495) on picking up dog poop.

However surprising as the measure may seem, Ménard is not alone in resorting to extreme measures to deal with this particular problem.

Similar measures by homeowners groups in other cities, including Tel Aviv in Israel and Valencia in Spain, have helped reduce the problem, their administrations say.

In fact, some people have even tried to get poop off their streets by mailing excrement back to dog owners and hiring private detectives to identify offenders and their dogs.

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