• Spain's news in English
 

Spanish town mails dog poo back to owners

Published: 04 Jun 2013 13:47 GMT+02:00

Officials in Brunete, a small town of 10,100 inhabitants on the outskirts of Madrid, came up with the idea for a social awareness campaign last year in a bid to stamp out its dog excrement problem.

"We contacted top advertising agency McCann about the doggy matter," a spokesperson for Brunete Town Hall told The Local.

"We told them we didn't have a penny to spend, but they found the idea so novel and exciting that they decided to work with us anyway."

The first campaign saw offending pet owners chased by a remote-controlled turd on wheels with the message "Don’t leave me, pick me up!" written on it.

"The amount of dog poo on our streets dropped considerably as a result. But as soon as the volume started rising again we knew we had to try an even more direct approach."

In February of this year, Brunete Town Hall recruited 20 volunteers to patrol the streets in search of guilty dog owners.

As soon as they spotted a poo that had gone astray, the undercover volunteers would approach the owners and strike up a casual conversation with them.

"They’d ask them what the dog’s name and pedigree was. With that information they could find out the address of the pooch’s owner from a registered pet database we have," Brunete’s Town Hall spokesperson told The Local.

Volunteers would then pick up the turd, box it and deliver it to the pet owners along with an official fine warning, while cameramen filmed the embarrassing scene.

As a result of this surreal campaign, Brunete Town Hall estimates the amount of dog-mess seen on the streets has dropped by 70 percent.

"We didn’t have volunteers tallying up the poo before and after the campaign; our results are based on what neighbours have told us," the town hall spokesperson told The Local.

"We're not sure either whether the volume of poo has gone down because they're more afraid of getting their dogs' excrement delivered back to them than of being fined."

#Cacaexpress has gone viral on Twitter and YouTube and McCann’s investment in Brunete Town Hall’s proposal has paid dividends after they won a “Sol de Plata” award at the Iberoamerican Advertising Festival this year.

"The campaign has been well-accepted in Brunete," the council spokesperson told The Local.

"A lot of people have called for designated areas to be set up where dogs can do their business though. As they say, different loos, for different poos."

Alex Dunham (alex.dunham@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Immigration crisis
At least six dead in shipwreck off Melilla
Immigrants rescued by the Spanish Red Cross in 2013. File photo: Marcos Moreno/AFP

At least six dead in shipwreck off Melilla

Six would-be migrants have died and four are missing after their boat ran into trouble off the coast of the north-African Spanish enclave of Melilla. READ  

Spanish Face of the Week
Is 400 year Cervantes mystery solved?
A portrait thought to be of Miguel de Cervantes by Juan de Jauregui y Aguilar, The Bridgeman Art Library Photo: Botaurus/Wikipedia

Is 400 year Cervantes mystery solved?

Four hundred years after he died a pauper in near obscurity, archaeologists announced that they may have solved the mystery of his final resting place. Meet our Spanish Face of the Week, Miguel de Cervantes. READ  

Madrid stand at tourism expo deemed 'too gay'
Madrid holds one of Europe's biggest gay pride marches every July. Photo: Dani Pozo/AFP.

Madrid stand at tourism expo deemed 'too gay'

Madrid is renowned as one of the most gay-friendly cities in the world, but the city's stand at this year's International Tourism Fair was reportedly repainted at the last minute because the city council deemed it "too gay". READ  

Spanish economy grows by 1.4 percent in 2014
People shopping in the Spanish sales. Photo: Gerard Julien/AFP.

Spanish economy grows by 1.4 percent in 2014

Spain's recovering economy grew by 1.4 percent in 2014, provisional official data showed on Friday, after shrinking by 1.2 percent in the previous year but remains plagued by mass unemployment. READ  

Hash helicopter pilot was Albanian major: reports
Wreckage of the hashish-filled helicopter which crashed near the mountain town of Cortes de la Frontera in Malaga province. Photo: Jorge Guerrero/AFP

Hash helicopter pilot was Albanian major: reports

A helicopter loaded with hashish which crashed in southern Spain on Tuesday after hitting an electricity pylon was piloted by a major with the Albanian army, according to media reports. READ  

'Green' Cordoba wins global praise
Photo of Cordoba: Shutterstock

'Green' Cordoba wins global praise

Cordoba, in Andalucia, southern Spain, might already be world-famous for its medieval former mosque, but now its efforts to go green are also gaining global attention. READ  

Shakira gives birth to second son
Smiles all round: Colombian pop star Shakira gave birth to her second site on Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images North America/AFP

Shakira gives birth to second son

Pop superstar Shakira and Barcelona defender Gerard Piqué welcomed their second child into the world on Thursday night. READ  

Spain's far left to rally after Syriza win
"Hope is born," the leader of Podemos, Pablo Iglesias, said after the left-wing party Syriza was victorious in the recent Greek elections. Photo: Gerard Julien/AFP

Spain's far left to rally after Syriza win

Buoyed by its Greek ally Syriza's victory, Spanish protest party Podemos kicks off election year with a mass rally on Saturday, vowing to defeat a political elite it brands corrupt. READ  

Spanish airport staff announce major strikes

Spanish airport staff announce major strikes

The two main unions at Spanish airport operator AENA on Thursday called 27 strike days between February and August in protest at the partial privatization of the firm. READ  

Marriage proposal ends in fatal clifftop fall

Marriage proposal ends in fatal clifftop fall

A young tourist in Ibiza has died after falling off a 15-metre (50-foot) cliff just moments after her boyfriend proposed to her. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
The five strangest things about Spaniards
Business & Money
FATCA: 'The age of financial privacy is over'
What's On
Shakira gives birth to second son
International
Spain planned to invade Australia in 1790s
National
Eleven dead as F-16 jet explodes at Spanish air base
National
Police seize jihadi cell prepared to attack Spain
What's On
What's on in Spain: February 2015
National
Spanish jobseekers fail exam with answers
National
Moving to Spain: a guide for beginners
National
Spain's new penal code: key talking points
International
Spain among Europe's cheapest nations: study
Features
Top ten surprising Spanish inventions
National
Spain's Repsol ends Canary oil exploration
National
Court to study paternity suit against ex-king
National
Europe in statistics - from Spain to Sweden
Politics
Catalan president calls early regional election
National
Top ten: must-know Spanish superstitions
International
'Change Schengen rules to catch Islamists': Spain
What's On
Ten ways to spice up your Spanish life in 2015
Health
Spain tops world organ donation rankings
National
5 things no one tells you about renting in Spain
National
'No Pants Subway Ride' hits Madrid Metro
National
Spain's satirical mags back Charlie Hebdo
National
Spain tightens security after Paris terror attack
National
Finally: a Spanish PM bothers to visit Andorra
National
Woman fined for being kissed while driving
Travel
Top travel highlights in Spain for 2015
National
Gallery: Hits and misses of Antonio Banderas
National
Spain's top news in 2015: The Local's predictions
National
Spain's public holidays in 2015: Official list
National
Christmas fireball lights up Spanish skies
National
Top ten: Spain's biggest stories of 2014
International
Madrid: mouse delays international flight for six hours
National
Confirmed: Spain's Princess Cristina to be tried for fraud
National
Did Vikings settle as far south as Spain?
National
Nativity donkey squashed by fat fan
Society
Lifting the lid on Spain's mysterious Christmas lottery
National
Why has The Local got a new logo?
What's On
Top 12 things to do in Spain over Christmas
Politics
Spain passes tough new 'anti-protest' law
Business & Money
Google News quits Spain in paid content row
What's On
How to party like a Spaniard: the ultimate guide
Society
Madrid's shocking slum shames Spanish capital
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

638
jobs available