Spain’s Hilarious Plan to Keep Dog Poop Out of Parks Is a Success

It turns out that mailing people their dog's poop is a good way to keep public areas clean.


In June, we wrote about the Spanish town of Brunete, a middle-class suburb of Madrid, whose officials were mailing people their dog’s “business” back to them when it showed up in parks. Really: Volunteers were scouring local parks, and when they saw negligent dog owners ignore the squishy payloads their dogs had just dropped, they scooped them up, bagged them, boxed them, and sent them to the homes of those owners, whose addresses they got through a little detective work.

We had a laugh over it. It was insane, right? Mailing dog poop back to owners to encourage people to pick up after their dogs? Well, the New York Times just got on the story, and the owners’ tardiness in picking it up has resulted in a nice addition to the story.

It’s working.

According to Mayor Borja Gutiérrez, the mailing-dog-poop has resulted in fewer payloads scattered around parks and streets and more dog owners walking around with little baggies, “a sight that is still extremely rare across Spain,” according to the Times.

Though the campaign lasted only two weeks, with 147 boxes of malodorous dog cigars mailed to residents, the mayor estimates that, months later, he’s still seeing a 70 percent improvement.

The Times headed to a town park near City Hall to see for itself, looking for crap on the ground. There wasn’t much. Indeed, people were holding poop bags. The Times was satisfied with the volumes of poop in bags and not scattered underfoot in this leafy oasis, and then headed to a quiet table in the back of a bar where the locals drink, to finally begin working on the novel.

Some residents didn’t like the campaign at all, and they are mostly people who own dogs.

“There is a campaign against dogs in this town, and what has this dog ever done?” said a woman who refused to give her name. She said she always picks up after her dog. The Times notes that everyone they spoke to said the same thing.

“It’s your dog, it’s your dog poop,” said the Mayor. “We are just returning it to you.”

Though the campaign was nutty, it’s not quite as crazy as one we saw in 2011, in which New Taipei City in Taiwan offered raffle tickets in exchange for each bag of dog poop residents submitted to the government. The prizes? Gold ingots worth hundred and even thousands of dollars. A total of 85 people won prizes, including household appliances, and the streets were blissfully clear of poop, according to the BBC.

Unfortunately, authorities had to stop the campaign when they realized they couldn’t keep giving people gold for dog poop.

Via the New York Times

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