• Spain's news in English
 
Spanish town mails dog poo back to owners
Return to sender: Volunteers picked up the turds, boxed them and delivered them to the pet owners while cameramen filmed the embarrassing scene. Photo: Darren Riley/Flickr

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
Spanish science
Ancient anchors hint at Spain–Viking link
A Viking longship during the Up Helly Aa festival in the Shetland Islands, Scotland. File photo: Andy Buchanan/AFP

Ancient anchors hint at Spain–Viking link

Researchers from Aberdeen University in the UK are planning an archaeological dig that could confirm for the first time that Vikings made their home along Spain's northern coast. READ  

Starving kids abandoned in Spanish home

Starving kids abandoned in Spanish home

Police in the northern Spanish city of Oviedo have found three children, abandoned in a house and showing signs of malnourishment, prompting a nationwide search for their mother. READ  

Royal corruption
Spanish princess to be tried for fraud
Spain's Princess Cristina (L) with former Spanish king Juan Carlos. File photo: AFP

Spanish princess to be tried for fraud

Spain's Princess Cristina is to be tried in court for tax fraud in what is a first for the Spanish royal family, the judge overseeing the case said on Monday. READ  

Terrorism in Spain
Basque government to help terror group disarm
People hold banners reading "Exiles and prisoners back home' during a 2014 pro-Eta demonstration in Bayonne, France. Photo: Gaizka Iroz/AFP

Basque government to help terror group disarm

The regional Basque government on Sunday unveiled a plan to facilitate the disarmament process of the terrorist group Eta, amid frustration over a lack of response from the Spanish government three years after the group ended its campaign of violence. READ  

Protesters slam Spain's tough new security law
People protest against Spain's new public security law ("ley mordaza") in Madrid on Saturday. Photo: Pierre-Philippe Marcou/AFP

Protesters slam Spain's tough new security law

Thousands of people across Spain protested against the country's new Citizen Security Law on Saturday, with critics saying the legislation seriously limits free speech. READ  

Suarez opens Barca league account
Photo: Josep Lago/AFP

Suarez opens Barca league account

Luis Suarez celebrated Barcelona's final La Liga game of 2014 with his first league goal for the club in their 5-0 win over Cordoba at the Camp Nou on Saturday. READ  

Attack on ruling party HQ targeted 'all politicians'
The area around the head office of Spain's ruling Popular Party in Madrid was off by police after the attack. Photo: George Mills/The Local

Attack on ruling party HQ targeted 'all politicians'

Updated: The man who rammed a car loaded with gas bottles into the headquarters of Spain's ruling Popular Party in Madrid on Friday morning has said any party could have been the target of the attack as "all politicians are the same". READ  

Nine migrants die in Strait of Gibraltar
A would-be migrant to Africa receives assistance from Spain's Red Cross. File photo: Marcos Moreno/AFP

Nine migrants die in Strait of Gibraltar

Moroccan authorities on Friday recovered the bodies of three babies and six adults who died while trying to cross to Spain in a small boat. READ  

Brit wanted for Spain murder caught in UK
Paul John Scott, from Liverpool, was apprehended on Tuesday night when he flew into East Winch Airfield in Norfolk from the Netherlands. Screen grab: Youtube/Steve Ivie /National Crime Agency

Brit wanted for Spain murder caught in UK

A UK man wanted by Spanish police in connection with the Alicante murder of a fellow Brit in April has been arrested while trying to enter the UK in a light aircraft. READ  

Most Catalans say no to independence: new poll
Photo: Lluis Gene/AFP

Most Catalans say no to independence: new poll

For the first time since Catalonia’s independence drive began to pick up momentum in 2012, more people are against independence from Spain than in favour of such a move, a new poll run by the regional government shows. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
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
National
Policeman mauled by lions at Barcelona zoo
Business & Money
Uber eyes appeal against Spain ban
Travel
Google offers virtual views of Spain's wonders
Sponsored Article
Top ten gifts for an expat Christmas
Education
Three Spanish business schools makes Europe's top 10
Health
Spain officially free of Ebola: World Health Organization
Travel
Ten Spanish museums you need to know about
National
Can you pass the Spanish citizenship test?
Sponsored Article
Win a €250 voucher for your Christmas list
National
Malaga: mini-tornado causes damage on coast
National
Google Maps 'undeletes' famous Cordoba mosque
National
Riot cops star in Down Syndrome calendar
What's On
What's on in Spain: December 2014
Sponsored Article
Travel & live like a local with Home Exchange
National
'Plane laser' finds Roman gold mines in Spain
National
From the Armada to Orwell: ten great quotes about Spain
National
34 percent of Spain's workers on €645 minimum wage
Sponsored Article
Shop Christmas gifts at Debenhams international store
Society
The Duchess of Alba: eight amazing facts
International
'World's longest railway' links Madrid and China
What's On
What's on in Spain: November 2014
International
MPs call on Spain to recognize Palestine
International
VIDEO: Greenpeace activist injured in Canary Islands oil clash
Education
Spaniards are speaking better English than ever: study
Politics
The Dummies' Guide to Spain's new Podemos Party
National
Ten Spanish dishes to try before you die
Property
Spain's golden visa scheme struggles to take off
National
80 percent of voters say 'yes' to independent Catalonia
Society
Ten things you should never say to a Spaniard
National
Boardgame cashes in on Spain's corruption crisis
Society
Real's Ronaldo world's second richest athlete
National
Priests slam Spain's jacuzzi-loving 'archbishop of bling'
National
Ten shocking corruption cases hurting Spain
National
Seville: Erasmus student dies in selfie fall
Travel
Top ten: brilliant Barcelona restaurants
Society
Dad told to pay child support to 29-year-old daughter
Politics
'We're sorry': Spanish PM apologizes over corruption scandals
Tech
Meet Mr Biceps: Spanish policeman heats up Instagram
National
37 arrested as massive anti-corruption raids rattle Spain
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

586
jobs available
The Local Spain is hiring!
The Local is seeking a new editor for our site in Spain to join our growing team of internationally-minded, driven, ambitious and clued-up journalists.
Details and how to apply