Doggie Bags

“Nimm’ Ein Sackerl für Mein Gackerl” Campaign Promotes Clean Streets

Vienna’s new campaing against dog feces on public grounds has come into effect.  In Viennese dialect, the message is more amusing than threatening, while still creating awareness of the problem. This new government initiative against the evils of dog doo in Vienna was in response to a massive petition with over 150,000 signatures, insisting in no uncertain terms that some action be taken against the packs of four-legged polluters.

This is the situation: Vienna has one of the highest rates of dogs-per-capita in all of Europe, higher than any other European capital. The Viennese love their dogs, some say more than their children; the most obvious side effect is the amount of excrement left behind on the streets and parks of the city.

Now it’s easy for somebody who does not have a dog to tell others to use a bag, but it is not as easy to carry out as it might seem. And as a proud dog owner, I can tell you that it is definitely not a very pleasant procedure. Don’t get me wrong; I fully disagree with dog owners letting their pets do their business on public pavements, where if you’re not paying attention, your shoe could have an unpleasant encounter with something you may not necessarily want. Still, the rule is irksome. So we need a push.

The Austrian daily Der Standard revealed on Mar. 12 that 7 Million Euro is being spent yearly by Viennese officials for conventional methods of removing the Gackerl. This proves to be a very demanding task for the people in charge, causing them to make ill-considered statements:

“Vienna is full of Hundescheisse (dogshit) compared to other European cities,” complained ÖVP-District Councilman Franz Karl in the late 1990’s. Karl resigned from this office shortly afterwards because the (poo-) problem was too overwhelming, and the resistance from dog owners simply too strong. We are all waiting eagerly to see what results, if any, this new campaign will have.

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