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What are the fines for not picking up dog poo in Spain?

The Local Spain
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What are the fines for not picking up dog poo in Spain?
Despite the hefty fines in Spain, it seems that very few local authorities actually dish out dog poo fines. Photo: Pixabay.

It's one of the biggest gripes of foreigners living in Spain: dog mess on the street. But what are the fines for not picking it up in Spain?

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According to the Spain's National Institute of Statistics (INE), 40 percent of Spanish households have a dog. 

In fact, the Spanish have more dogs than they do children: while there are a little over 6 million children under the age of 14 in Spain, there are over 7 million registered dogs in the country, and if you live in Spain, you'll likely known that walking the Spanish streets can feel a little like doing an obstacle course due to sheer amount of dog mess.

The latest estimates suggest it's as much as 675,000 tonnes of doodoo that has to be cleaned up every single year in Spain.

More responsible dog owners in Spain carry around a bottle of water mixed with detergent or vinegar to clean up their dog’s urine and small plastic bags to pick up number twos, but many seem to either turn a blind eye or somehow miss it and leave it for someone to step in.

READ ALSO: Does Spain have a dog poo problem?

Doggy DNA

The problem has become so bad in some places that in many Spanish regions doggy DNA databases have been created to catch the culprits. Over 35 Spanish municipalities require dog owners to register their pets' saliva or blood sample on a genetic database so they can be traced and fined, if necessary. 

You can find a list of all the municipalities in Spain that DNA test dog poo here.

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If you're actually caught letting your dog do its business in the street and not cleaning it up (which is rare, more on that below), technically speaking, authorities you can be sanctioned with fines (multas) ranging from €30 all the way up to €1,500 for repeat offendences, in some in cities.

In fact, there are eight cities in particular where dog poo penalties can be particularly pricey and exceed €500: Madrid, Albacete, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Las Palmas, Badajoz, Cuenca, Huelva and Girona.

How much are the fines in different parts of Spain?

READ ALSO: Clean or dirty? How does your city rank on Spain’s cleanliness scale? 

Madrid

In Madrid, fines can range from €751 to €1,500 for repeat offenders.

Barcelona

Barcelona, not picking up dog poop warrants a fine of €300, which increase to €900 if it occurs in certain areas such as a playground.

Alicante

In Alicante, fines go up to €300.

Murcia

In Murcia, they range from €30 to €300.

Canary Islands

In Santa Cruz de Tenerife, fines can be as high as €900, and in Las Palmas up to €750.

Balearics

In Palma de Mallorca it can be as high as €750

Málaga

In the southern Andalusian city, fines can set you back anything from €75- €500.

Valencia

In Valencia, the fines can be anything up to €750 for repeat offenders.

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Enforcement issues?

Yet despite these hefty fines, it seems that very few local authorities in Spain actually dish out dog poo fines.

Looking at official municipal data from 2019, for example, most provincial capitals (31) did not impose more than 10 sanctions throughout the entire year, and in some cities, not a single person was fined, including in Jaén, Tarragona, Teruel and Zamora.

According to Spanish newspaper El País, in Barcelona - an enormous city with almost 200,000 dogs - only 41 people were fined in the whole of 2022. It's safe to say that there were more than 41 dog poos that weren't cleaned up that year, so it seems that fining lazy dog owners doesn't seem a pressing priority in Barcelona nor across the rest of the country.

Despite this, as a dog owner, it's your responsibility to clean up after it and make sure you're not adding to the problem. You never know when it might be your turn to accidentally step in one or when you may be caught and slapped with a hefty fine. 

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