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Monday June 10, 2013

The Spanish dog owners shamed for foul play

We’ve all seen them, those dog owners who blithely saunter along the street or through a public park allowing their mutts to leave unwelcome deposits on whatever surface seems to take their fancy. It never crosses the minds of these people to clear up the mess left by their pets or even to exhibit a passing hint of guilt as they stroll on imperiously, leaving a trail of what the Spanish term caca in their path.

In the Spanish town of Brunete, west of Madrid, it’s been reported that a postal campaign known as Caca Express has stopped the felons in their tracks. Orchestrated and funded by the advertising agency McCann on behalf of the local council, a group of volunteers were recruited to follow offending locals and to engage them in conversation by way of discovering the names of their dogs. Armed with the information, details of the owners were easily found on the council’s registered pet database and individual boxes containing their pooches excrement were couriered to each one together with a warning note and threat of a future fine.

The campaign has so far proved a huge deterrent and having made 147 deliveries, the council has noted a 70 per cent drop in unwanted caca in public places and a greater sense of public awareness. They’ve evidently got one heck of a problem in Brunete because the previous year the town had bizarrely unleashed a remote controlled dog’s mess on wheels that trundled about public spaces with the message ‘Don’t leave me-pick me up’. You’d need one – a pick-me- up, that is, after accidentally running into one of those.

Much as I’m happy to learn that Brunete has finally solved its doggy issues and McCann has apparently cleaned up at a recent advertising industry awards event with its Caca Express brainwave, isn’t an opportunity being missed in bad boy Spanish resorts and in towns back in the UK?

Aside from dog excrement, think of all the trash on the streets of an evening – empty lager cans kicked about the pavements, screwed up chip, crisp and cigarette packets, chewing gum, abandoned pizza boxes, used condoms, stomach contents and other unpleasant waste-supposedly evidence of a ‘good night out’. What if councils in similar vein were to employ volunteers to follow the litter louts, discover their identities, clear up their debris and send it on to them the next day together with a heavy fine?

I know. It’s a truly revolting concept but it has some merit. Why only penalise dog walkers in Brunete when there are plentiful pickings to be had in so many other places and for so many other equally antisocial offences? With a concerted effort it wouldn’t take much to catch and fine a whole host of fouling miscreants and to send them off with their tails between their legs.

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