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Friday, 21 December, 2001, 17:41 GMT
Artist inspired by eternal Parisian problem
Artist Cho is trying to raise dog owners' awarness of problem
Highlighting the scourge of dog dirt in Paris
A French artist is hoping to stamp out the problem of dog dirt in Paris by creating works of art from it.

Whenever he spots dog dirt on the pavement where he lives in the capital's 11th district he draws around the mess, sticks a specially-made flag in it and signs and dates the spot.

Cho started campaign against dog dirt when son started walking
Pavement artist Cho
"The aim is to make dog owners act responsibly, so that they realize that there is no point in spending millions of francs cleaning up when it's them who are responsible in the first place," says the artist who is known only as Cho.

Paris City Council spends FF70m ($9.6m) a year cleaning up after the capital's 200,000 dogs, which leave 5,840 tonnes of dirt behind them. It is said to cause 650 accidents.

Threats and insults

Cho, who says he decided to act after his son started to walk, has made around 8,000 little markers and is encouraging people to buy them and do the same.

Although it's a dirty job, Cho says someone has to do it.

He says most people have reacted positively, but that he has received some threatening phone calls and insults in the street.

One woman with a young child told France 2 television: "It's not the dogs that should be criticized, it's the owners, because a dog is like a child. It learns. You put a child on a potty, while a dog is put over the gutter."

Crackdown

The city council is also cracking down on the problem by threatening owners with 1,200 FF fines if they fail to clean up after their animals.

It is making bags available to owners to use for the job and instructors to show them how to do it.

The operation is part of a wider crackdown by the council on the rubbish littering the city's streets, with offenders also facing big fines.

The problem has got worse in recent months with the closing of some litter bins as part of the Vigipirate antiterrorist plan which was stepped up after the 11 September attacks.

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

See also:

01 Oct 99 | Europe
Paris gets tough on dog excrement
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