A messy public dog toilet, Source: Ghent Municipality

Ghent: the last Flemish city to do away with dog toilets

Ghent: the last Flemish city to do away with dog toilets

The town authorities have decided that the local dog owners are now sufficiently enlightened about the proper street etiquette

The City of Ghent announced that it plans to start removing all remaining dog toilets from its streets this week. Once this is completed, the entire Belgian region of Flanders will not have any more of these facilities as Ghent was the last municipality there to still host them.

If you’re wondering what public dog toilets are – well, it’s almost self-explanatory. These are specially designated spaces where people can take their pooches so the latter can relieve themselves. The toilets are usually covered with sand and are fenced off.

Belgium must have been a pioneer of this solution and we suppose the dog toilets were all the rage at the end of last century – Ghent’s municipal website says the first such facility was installed in 1998.

A lot has changed since then, however. Among other things: legislation and people’s habits. The use of dog poop bags has become mandatory, and all dog owners have gotten accustomed to that. So much indeed that the local authorities now see the public pet toilets as an unnecessary feature on the urban landscape.

Public dog toilets are still fashionable in other places, though

The Ghent administration didn’t enjoy the fact that the pet toilets would also end up being used as illegal trash dumping grounds. Once the authorities remove all of the 176 toilets on the municipal territory, this will free up an additional 1,500 square metres of public space to be used for greenery.

Flemish cities might again be leading the way in new trends, which are still about to catch up in the rest of the country and the world, though. A brief check on the Brussels municipal website shows a list of available dog toilets with addresses.

What’s more, at the end of April this year, media in Dublin were proud to announce the creation of the Irish capital’s first such pet toilet (plus 50 dog poo dispenser boxes). This is part of the city’s efforts to promote responsible dog ownership. Well, at least now they have a good European example to follow and know that it can be done.



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