'Stadt Und Hund,' One Man's Quest To Rid Berlin Of Dog Poop

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Berlin dog owners used 4 million bags last year from these dispensers to clean up after their  dogs.

Berlin dog owners used 4 million bags last year from these dispensers to clean up after their dogs. Courtesy of Christof Wüllner hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Christof Wüllner

Christof Wüllner was 19 years-old when he traveled across the United States. The beauty and wilderness of Yellowstone National Park blew him away, and it was there that he discovered his dream job.

"I met some people. They said 'We are geologists. We are on excursion so you can come with us.' I had five really great days and after these days I decided to become a geologist," Wüllner says.

Wüllner studied in Berlin and became a civil engineer. Today he is mainly involved in testing and cleaning up soil for building developments, but apart from his work, there was something else he really wanted to clean up: dog poop.

"It stinks. It's the most awful thing you can bring home. I have two kids, and they play more on the ground than in the air. So they are contaminated with dog poop almost every day."

The Berliner founded the non-profit organization "Stadt und Hund," or "City and Dog" in English. Over the past seven years, Wüllner has installed 250 plastic bag dispensers in public parks around the city. Free bags are available for dog owners to clean up after their pets.

Four million of these bags were used last year, but Wüllner says Berlin needs 10 times more to get rid of the problem. That and dialog.

"We want to bring people who have dogs together with the people who have no dogs. And we want people who are responsible for their dogs."

Some 100,000 dogs are registered in Berlin. The 41 year-old hopes that one day streets will be free of dog droppings like Switzerland where the concept of bag dispensers has been around for more than 30 years.

Wüllner says he can only speculate as to why Berliners have such a hard time solving this problem.

"Maybe we are more tolerant and say, 'OK, this is not my business.' And we are maybe in this point we are too tolerant."



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