Pooper scooter

The other day while taking a check to our dentist, I crossed paths with a pooper scooter. Dressed in the universal florescent yellow vest of a street worker, the rider vroomed up to a big pile of dog shit that had been left just behind a parked car. Coming to a stop, he quickly unhooked his vacuum hose, sucked up the poop, rehooked the hose and then vroomed up onto the sidewalk, where he stopped to suck up another pile of shit left right in front of an office door. Then he carefully backed up to an opening between cars, bounced off the sidewalk, zipped across the street and entered a parking lot.

pooper scooter

Pooper scooters are an ingenious weapon in the endless fight against negligent dog owners (and they are legion in Portugal), as well as stray dogs (which are also legion). The first time I saw one I was so admiring of the simplicity and sensibility of it that I stood there grinning like an idiot as I watched.

The modification looks pretty easy — it’s just a scooter with a holding tank on the back, which houses a built-in vacuum with a long, flexible hose and a rigid extension about one meter long attached to the nozzle. The nozzle fits into a metal holster, which you can see just behind the worker’s left foot in the photo above. The ergonomics make it very easy for the worker to reach a pile of poop within two meters of either side of the bike. And scooters can go almost anywhere.

My wife thinks this would be an awful job. I think it might actually be kind of fun. You never have to touch the stuff; you just get to zip all over town and clean up the disgusting messes that drive you nuts while walking. It’s got to be fairly satisfying to hear the “shlump” sound as the poop vanishes up the hose.

No, the awful job belongs to whatever poor slob has to empty that tank out and clean it at the end of the day.

I didn’t have my camera with me at the time; the above photo was taken by geoffpr5 in Narbonne, France. Which makes me curious — how common are pooper scooters? I’d never seen one before coming to Portugal.

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About Fletcher DeLancey

Socialist heathen and Mac-using author of the Chronicles of Alsea, who enjoys pondering science, politics, well-honed satire (though sarcastic humor can work, too) and all things geeky.
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8 Responses to Pooper scooter

  1. M. says:

    I wish we had them in Poland. We have many dogs and plenty of poop. This can be troublesome, especially rigt after snow melts. But on the other hand usually our climate makes poop last only two-three weeks tops. Then it magically disappear šŸ˜‰

    • oregon expat says:

      How does it disappear? Sublimation? Inquiring minds want to know.

      • M. says:

        Sublimation all right :D. I think hard working germs plus lots of rain plus temperature jumping crazy help some with fast poop disintegration.

        Don’t get me wrong – street cleaning services would clean it as any other garbage, but dogs seem to prefer leaving their waste on a green and not on a concrete. Nobody cleans grass, so with big amout of dogs there shouldn’t be any grass if poop stayed longer, I guess. During winter the proces of disintegration is on a halt, so when spring comes and there is no nice white snow to cover land, you can see how much poop dogs can produce in a few weeks. Not nice sight I tell you.

        Gee, I never thought I would discuss a dog’s poop šŸ™‚

        • oregon expat says:

          Hm. So there’s an advantage to not having snow — no sudden spring shock as the full extent of winter dog dumping is revealed.

          Our seems to take longer to disappear, but the good part is that during the hot months, the poop dries into an inert and odorless pellet in no time. The bad part is that before drying, that same heat greatly magnifies the offensive odor.

  2. Styx says:

    In Paris where it had been introduced in 1982, we stoped to see them a few years ago. We called them “Motocrotte”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motocrotte

  3. JJ says:

    I REALLY hope the container is aroma proof. If not then definitely not the best job in the world. All in all quite a handy little machine from the looks of it.

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