Japanese town's dog tax to pay for poo
Filed under: Tax
Hiroyasu Chiyomatsu, head of Izumisano, in central Japan, has announced a new dog tax to pay for the clean up of dog poo.
The taxThe new tax is just at the threat stage. Dog owners have two years to clean up their act, and if the streets remain a dangerous place to stroll, the tax will be brought in to pay for a workforce of poop scoopers.
According to a report in the Telegraph, he announced that owners needed to "improve their morals and manners." He added that a crackdown on waste would be accompanied by an education campaign into the hazards of dog mess. He said:"If the awareness-raising campaign is not effective, then I would like to introduce the tax."
Do we need it here?At the moment, the town has an approach that's similar to the UK laws: people are required to clean up after their own dog, and if they fail to do so they have to pay a fine. Clearly Chiyomatsu isn't impressed with the response.
There are those in the UK who are equally unimpressed with the efforts of dog owners in this country. According to Keep Britain Tidy, In 2010 the UK dog population was estimated to be 8 million, with dogs producing approximately 1,000 tonnes of excrement each day.
For every vigilant scooper, there are those who leave deadly traps lying in wait on pavements and pathways - sometimes putting them in plastic bags so that street sweeping machines can tear into them and redistribute the contents in a public place.
In the UK our fine is far higher. In Izumisano the spot penalty is just over £8. Here it can be up to £200 - or £1,000 if the case goes to court. But should we consider a tax here? It would certainly clear the streets if the money was used directly on a poop scooping team. It might also make irresponsible owners think that owning a dog wasn't worth the hassle and expense.
The downsideHowever, it could also lure dog owners into thinking they have already paid someone else to clean up, so they don't have to bother themselves - which is going to create even more mess. There would also be a grey market in unregistered dog ownership, which could lead to all sorts of safety issues.
But what do you think? Would you like to see dog owners to be made to pay for the mess? Or is fostering a sense of responsibility the only real answer? Let us know in the comments.