Government Law

Dog poop sting operation ID'd scofflaw owners, sent them 'special delivery' of offending deposits


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In the battle against dog poop, government officials, as well as managers of condominium associations and rental units, have resorted to some innovative methods, including the use of DNA testing of offending deposits on public areas.

Now a middle-class suburb of Madrid has found an especially effective one, the New York Times (reg. req.) reports.

In a recent two-week sting operation, undercover volunteers approached owners after witnessing doggie deposits, then complimented the canines and struck up conversations. Once they found out a dog’s name and breed, they had enough information to identify the scofflaw owner through license information. Soon, the owner got a “special delivery” of a white box bearing the Brunete seal and labeled “lost and found.” Inside was the unscooped poop.

Owners got the message, and even now, months after the campaign, there is a noticeable reduction in soiled public areas, the newspaper says.

The idea for the unusual approach came from advertising agency McCann Erickson, which last year helped the town with another innovative idea. A realistic-looking remote-controlled pile of imitation dog poop followed offending owners and banged into their shoes, the Times reports. Although attention-getting and amusing, it was not as effective in changing human behavior.

Borja Gutiérrez, the mayor of Brunete, says owners who don’t pick up after their dogs is a top citizen complaint. However, actually targeting scofflaws can bring complaints, too.

He told the Times his town’s dog poop sting campaign, which has been widely publicized throughout Spain, resulting in the mayor of Madrid seeking him out at a recent political event.

“She said, ‘Well, it is not many mayors who think sending dog poop to voters is a good idea,’ ” Gutiérrez recounted. “ ‘How did you dare?’ ”

See also:

ABAJournal.com: “German Town to Test Dog DNA to Enforce Pooper-Scooper Law”

ABAJournal.com: “Lawyer Says Condo’s Proposed PooPrints DNA Program Is ‘Absolutely Ridiculous’”

ABAJournal.com: “Doggie DNA Will Help Track Poop Scofflaws at Condo, Rental Building”

Patriot-Ledger: “DNA testing puts Braintree dog owners in deep doo-doo”

Updated on Aug. 8 to link to Patriot-Ledger article.

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