Has this happened to you before? You find yourself in this beautiful medieval town with narrow cobblestone streets, terracotta tiles on the houses, church bells ringing in the square – and right in front of you on the path dog poop. Yuck.
Some cities get a bad name for this. Paris for example became known for the dog poop in the streets – not to mention cigarette butts and more. But back in 2017 the authorities realised that this was doing nothing to encourage tourists and in fact made life pretty miserable for the locals too. They set up a board (some call it the “incivility brigade” ) to look into this and charge hefty fines.
There are some cities in Europe that have found a way to deal with dog poop and I think that this has also been adopted by some cities in North America. Nerja, Spain is a good example.
Once a sleepy fishing village, Nerja is one of the few places to have kept its traditional charm, with whitewashed houses, narrow streets and all the modern amenities you could hope for. WikiTravel describes it well –
It is a quiet town with a central historical area that still feels like a village, and the tourist mix is not exclusively northern European as many Spanish people use this resort for holidays, together with French and Italians.
“The town is built on a hillside with a not too steep gradient and the sprawling centre itself consists of an older part with white streets partly pedestrianized mainly to the east of the Balcon de Europa, the natural focus of the town and the venue for fiestas, but beyond the 17th century church and the Plaza Cavana more modern development takes over and it is in these areas that the town seems like any other recently developed Spanish Costa resort.”
So this beautiful little town started to have a problem not only with stray dogs but also with dog owners not cleaning up the poop. Now in order to get a dog licence you need to register your dog’s dna and if they find a dog poop on the street and identify the dna then you, the owner, are in for a hefty fine. Apparently this has worked quite well so far and dog poop sightings are down.
Which is a good thing…. because we, as tourists, like to visit these medieval cities and want it to look just like it was in medieval times – as if we were on a film set of Game of Thrones. We don’t want to see McDonalds or Starbucks or ATMS or anything else that might spoil the illusion. Mmmm…isn’t that why Disney is so successful???