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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)

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