Buenos Aires to Clean Up Dog Poop on City Streets

In what is sure to be good news to many expat ears, the mayor of Buenos Aires, Mauricio Macri, today announced a comprehensive plan to eliminate dog poop from city sidewalks.

While this may be nothing more than an election year maneuver to appease the many voters who have had to clean out the crevices of their shoes with an old toothbrush, his comprehensive plan has many merits. The plan involves the following:

  • Reassigning Metropolitan Police to “quality of life” patrols where they will fine dog owners who do not pick up after their pets $500 pesos for a first-time violation, $1000 pesos for a second offense and $4000 pesos for any additional offenses
  • Providing dog waste bags on every pole where there is an orange trash bin
  • “Deputizing” old, retired people as a part of a “quality of life neighborhood watch” which would allow them to issue tickets as well as harass pet owners who do not pick up
  • Hiring additional street cleaners whose sole job will be to pick up dog waste that may have slipped through the cracks
  • Providing additional funding for no-kill shelters to get dogs off the street, spayed or neutered, and adopted
  • Handing out tens of thousands of paper flyers to people on the streets to publicize these new measures and fines

In addition to their “poop patrol” duties, these new quality of life officers will begin to fine property owners who have broken or loose sidewalk tiles in front of their buildings.

Macri said (translated), “Buenos Aires has been called the ‘Paris of South America’ many times, and while that is flattering in many respects, it’s time we end the dog excrement aspect of that comparison once and for all. Argentina added new holidays to the calendar last year to help promote tourism, but let’s go a step further and give tourists and expats one less thing to complain about when they come to our great city. As for our residents, we will end over 650 hospital visits per year by people who slip on dog poop, save on water by allowing building encargados to clean their sidewalks less frequently, and improve the overall smell of the city in the summertime.”

Surprisingly, he had bi-partisan support for this proposal and it passed with majority approval. It is slated to go into effect on April 1, 2011. We’ll see what happens…