A Japanese Town Considering a Dog Poop Tax

The city of Izumisano is hoping to tax pet owners, with the money going to professional pooper scoopers.

Anneli Rufus  |  Jul 2nd 2012


We know how much the Japanese pamper their pups — with sunglasses, shoes, and spa vacations. But in Japan, just as everywhere else in the world, a certain percentage of dog owners would rather skip than scoop.

Officials in one city are barking mad. And they’ve proposed a dog-doo tax.

The city of Izumisano is considering a tax on its dog owners, “because many fail to clean up after their pets on its streets,” according to the Japan Times.

Revenue from the tax would fund special poop patrols to scoop droppings, Izumisano’s Mayor, Hiroyasu Chiyomatsu, announced at a city assembly last Wednesday.

City officials said they “received about 30 complaints from residents last year about dog droppings left on streets or near their homes, and that the number of complaints has remained steady over the last few years,” according to the Japan Times.

Japan’s 13 million dogs produce nearly three million pounds of poop every day. Signs urging pet owners to scoop poop are a common sight in Japan, where one company has developed a dog-shaped robot trash can that conveniently transforms dog doo into eco-friendly compost. And 12-year-old Haruka Maruno was named one of Time magazine’s nine Heroes for the Planet after she invented an eco-friendly poop-scooper based on recyclable milk cartons.

Superstar sumo wrestler Konishiki was charged with assault in Tokyo last December after the athlete’s Golden Retriever allegedly defecated on the grounds of a condominium complex. One outraged condo owner called the cops, according to Japan Today.

Izumisano, which is home to 5,374 registered dogs, introduced on-the-spot fines of 1,000 yen (about $12) in January for residents who do not clean up after their animals on public walkways.

If officially set into law, the new poop tax would be imposed “in about two years,” according to the Japan Times, which adds, “Similar taxes on dog owners were often imposed in the postwar years, with 2,686 local governments having such levies as of 1955.”

Do you think such serious measures might really have an effect? Money talks, after all. If irresponsible dog owners — in Japan and everywhere — started to visualize big price tags attached to all the dog droppings they want to leave behind on sidewalks, driveways, lawns, and hiking trails, maybe it would make those spaces nicer for the rest of us.

Or are irresponsible jerks just incurable?

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