Back in October, there was a discussion on the My Czech Republic message boards about Czechs and their dogs. It didn’t take long and the topic turned to dog owners leaving their animal friends’ poop unattended on the sidewalks.
The city of Prague is trying to do good. It is now a common sight to see special doggie garbage cans that include a dispenser of complimentary paper bags that people can use to pick up after their dogs. It is however less common to see the dispensers actually contain any paper bags. On the boards, Viktor may have explained why by posting his story about having witnessed two Czech women happily removing all the bags from one of the dispensers to take them home and use them as lunch bags. We had a laugh and at the same time I sighed and thought to myself how hard it is to change certain things in this country when people’s thinking remains tainted by the communist conception that everything belongs to everybody and public property is up for grabs.
I was reminded of the dog poop discussion today as I was walking down Národní. My eyes fell on a doggie garbage can. It had a dispenser and the dispenser contained paper bags. The paper bags looked different from those I had seen before. There was a printed note on them saying that the bags are not meant for storing foodstuffs. Word about the alternate use of the bags must have arrived at the city hall, and the city hall responded.
The city of Prague is trying to do good and is persisting despite the fact that its efforts are being undermined by some of its own residents who won’t spend 20 Kč for a package of lunch bags at Tesco. I wonder if these people would rather continue to dodge piles of dog poop, stepping into them every so often and smearing them along the sidewalks with their shoes. I also wonder how long the city of Prague is going to keep up their attempts to do good. It may be only a matter of time until the complimentary paper bags disappear from the streets altogether because those who have been putting them there will finally give up.