A small town in Spain has come up with a new way of dealing with dog waste – a canine public toilet. Located along a busy thoroughfare in El Vendrell, northeastern Spain, the stainless steel contraption consists of two sections placed side by side – a doggy potty and a doggy urinal.
The potty is a raised steel platform with a covered hole. Dog owners need to lift the lid for their pets to defecate, and later press a handle to flush. Jets of water are released, which carry the excrement through underground pipes into the sewer system. Right next to the potty is the urinal – also a raised platform with small holes over which dogs can squat. The public toilet is the brainchild of dog-lover Enric Girona, who has spent over ten years observing and photographing dogs. Through his work, he recognized the need for a toilet for dogs, so he set about creating one himself. “Over the years, I’ve seen that if you train and raise dogs well, these animals can be just like humans,” he explained.
Girona invented several variants of the toilet, modifying each one as he learned more and more about dog behavior. The present version of the urinal, for example, doesn’t clean itself perfectly when flushing, because need to pick the odor so they are lured to the toilet. He also had the location in mind while designing these toilets, so they’d naturally blend into surroundings like parks and other public places. “You can’t have something that clashes with the setting,” he pointed out. “The design was done with the concept of being attractive.”
Public toilets for dogs sound like a great idea, especially in towns like El Vendrell where pet owners can be fined up to €750 for neglecting to pick up their dogs’ waste. Larger cities like Barcelona and Madrid have fines running as high as €1,500. Authorities in the town of Colmenar Viejo had actually hired a private detective in April in order to catch owners who didn’t follow the rules.
Girona’s solution to this problem is quite unique, and the only one of its kind in the world. “We looked around to see what was on the market, and saw that nothing quite like this existed,” he said. Of course, it doesn’t come cheap. “To make just one is costly and complicated. But if we have orders of 10 or 25, the costs would definitely decrease dramatically.”
Not all pet owners are pleased with the device, though. “It’s useless,” one said. “What has been spent on this area could build a fence to let the animals loose inside. Animals are not toys. They defecate, urinate and return home. They also need to socialize.” “The main problem for us, for the dogs, is the material, it’s steel,” said another owner. “I think it would be better with grass.”
Some pet owners are quite happy with the solution, as long as it’s free. “I am in favor of it, if the mayor does not use this device to charge more taxes, then that’s fine,” said one. “But if we have to charge more to pensioners who are fed up with bills and fees, that does not seem right.”
via The Guardian