Spanish town of Brunete near Madrid, Spain had a problem with dog feces in public parks and sidewalks. Local government decided to start a controversial program to fight the issue. Owners who failed to pick up and dispose of their dog’s poop received surprising shipments.
Dog poop delivered to your home address
A courier knocked on dog owners’ doors and delivered a “Signed For” neat package. The elegant box had a big “LOST PROPERTY” marking, and contained their dog’s poop stuffed inside a plastic bag. Along with the excrement, the owner was notified that next violation may result in a fine ranging from 30 to 300 euros.
A total of 147 poops were delivered to dog’s owners. The campaign started in 2013 and was developed by the Council of Brunete together with McCann advertising agency. It was partially a publicity stunt, but resulted in 70% decrease in dog feces abandoned on town streets.
Dog owner identification technology
You are probably curious how dog feces was matched to their owners. Was it some sophisticated technology including DNA tracking? CSI: Dog Poop? Microchips injected with vaccines, GPS tracking? The solution was actually quite simple. 20 volunteers from Brunete Town Council followed people walking dogs in public spaces. After owner “forgot” to pick up dog’s poo, a volunteer approached them, complimented their beautiful dog, and asked about its name and breed. Proud dog owners shared this information happily. This allowed to track them in a database (pets need to be registered in Spain), and voilà, feces was mailed back to them.
How much poop is produced by dogs?
A medium sized dog supposedly produces 180 kilograms of feces per year. With population of 6.3 million dogs registered in Spain (and growing), this amounts to approximately 1,134,000 tons of annual dog poop. Local governments report that about 70 percent of the poops are deposited on the streets, and only 40 percent of this amount is picked up by owners. This leaves over 317,000 tons of dog feces abandoned annually on city streets in Spain.
Top image: Picking up dog poop in Italy (photo by SunOfErat / PD)