Bogotá’s dangerous bins: Bin pin sin

By Oli Pritchard April 17, 2024
Zoé at the vet

If you have a dog in your life in Bogotá, there’s something you need to be aware of. Some of the city’s new bins pose a serious risk to pets. A large pin at dog height has caught many of them unaware. In January, local councillor Samir José Abisambra reported over 300 dogs had been injured by the poor bin design. 

In March, our deputy editor’s dog Zoé fell victim. She ripped her side open as she hurtled past a bin in the Parque Nacional. She needed five stitches. That might not sound a lot, but it means general anaesthetic for a 25kg dog. Then, of course, there’s the risk of infection.

Luckily our girl made a full and fast recovery with little to no suffering. It could easily have been more grisly though, so we’re giving you a guide for what to watch out for and what you can do to help stop the problem.

Bogotá bins: What to watch out for

The offending pin

The offending bins can be seen in this photo. The pin that extends out from the bottom is around 30-40cm from the floor and the protruding disc is roughly the size of a COP$1,000 coin. This means a dog running past the bin can catch on it and tear a hole in themselves.

It’s not all bins – the older green models do not have the adjusting pins and it’s tucked under the base on some of the new ones. Some of the poorly designed ones are also placed in such a way that they won’t cause a problem, with the pins together in the centre.

The ones in parks are particularly problematic. The ones on the streets shouldn’t have dogs running past at speed anyway. Watch out for any that have wide open spaces behind them that dogs like to burst into. Also, be careful to look out for bins between spaces – this creates visual confusion for our canine chums.

How you can help

Luckily, there’s something you can do. Pick up some tube lagging from a ferretería or a pool noodle from Dollarcity. Then, as per the pictures, you can cut said tube into little doughnuts. Make incisions into the central circle so the doughnut-shaped foam guard can slip neatly onto the pin and cushion against collision.

We recommend you use a bright colour that is clearly visible to both dogs and humans – blue or purple are best. We used blue, as you can see. And spread the word about the offending bins to other dog walkers you may see out and about. Most importantly, exercise caution with your furry friends if they get too close to dangerous situations.