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French town urges dog owners to clean up pet mess with fake €10 notes

The notes have a funny but apt message on the back and aim to reduce the amount of dog mess left in parks and streets

Town services in Châlons-en-Champagne, Marne, pick up 4,500 litres of dog mess a year. Pic: Monika Wisniewska / Shutterstock

A town in Marne (Grand Est) has found a novel way to encourage dog owners to clear up their pets’ mess - it leaves fake €10 notes around local parks and streets with a funny but apt message printed on the back.

While the ‘notes’ look normal on one side, the reverse has a message, reading: “If you are able to bend down to pick up this (fake) note, you can bend down to pick up your dog’s mess.”

The town of Châlons-en-Champagne recently released a campaign video on their Facebook page, which includes footage of unsuspecting dog owners picking up the fake notes.

You can watch the video on Facebook here.

The ‘pedagogical action’, as it is referred to in the video, comes as the current threat of a €135 fine does not seem to be working and the town services pick up 4,500litres of dog poo a year.

The video urges dog owners to ‘respect the living environment of others’ and reminds them that they can collect free bags for their dogs’ mess at the town hall.

It was the idea of the town’s Director of Communications, Mr Leroy, who was asked to run a communication campaign against dog mess and decided to do something “a little bit out of the ordinary.''

Dog owners who fell for the trap saw the funny side

He said that while a lot of the time anti-dog mess campaigns are centred on either the moral aspect or the threat of a fine, he wanted to opt for something “smart and funny” instead.

The town employed only ten or so of these fake notes, which they picked up right after shooting the videos, as “we didn’t want to replace the dog mess with a different kind of pollution and leave the notes all around the town,” he added.

The dog owners who fell for the trap saw the funny side of the incentive: “They reacted rather well. They were a little bit disappointed when they realised the notes were fake but they smiled when they saw the message,” Mr Leroy added.

He chose to create a video as opposed to a poster as he wanted the campaign to reach as many people as possible.

The reactions so far have been “largely positive”, he said, with the video receiving over 20,000 likes, 1,700 comments and 14,000 shares on Facebook.

Mr Leroy also revealed that he has received private messages from other towns and residents asking for a PDF of the fake note so that they too can make use of it.

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