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Chic Parisian Dog Latrines Proposed

Ed Helms of "The Daily Show" takes part in the "Mocking the Truth" panel discussion at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center in New York on April 29, 2006.
Paul Hawthorne/Getty Images for TFF
Commentary by CBS News Correspondent Tom Fenton:
The French are exceedingly fond of their capital: its magnificent monuments, beautiful buildings and palatial parks.

They also adore pets and have more than any other Europeans. So it is not surprising that the sidewalks of Paris have more of what dogs usually do when they promenade.

The Paris authorities have tried just about everything: 4,400 old-fashioned sidewalk sweepers with long brooms, plus more than 200 modern “pooper scooters” that vacuum up the mess, and even 80 pooper inspectors who issue on-the-spot fines (to the owners, not the dogs). None of this has solved the problem.

CBS News Correspondent Tom Fenton
So now an urban architect has come up with the “wawa,“ the latest design in dog toilets. The model Monsieur Bertin is proposing to the Paris municipality is a small open space, tastefully hedged with flower boxes, which can be flushed with jet sprays activated by an electronic swipe card that would be issued free to dog owners. The secret of the wawa is that it is paved with a new “canine concrete” which prevents excrement from sticking to it but conserves the odor, which in theory will incite other dogs to do their thing.

Bertin figures that Paris needs 2400 wawas for its 220,000 dogs. At $28,000 each, that would cost the city $66,000,000 – a mere bagatelle for the government, which lavishes money on the capital like a Frenchman on his mistress. Bertin believes he can convince the Paris authorities to go for the wawas. The question is whether he can convince the dogs.

By Tom Fenton