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'Pet poo detectives' to keep town clean
By thinkSPAIN Team Thu, Jun 13, 2019
PRIVATE plain-clothes detectives have been taken on to patrol the streets of a Salamanca-province village in a desperate bid to get dog-owners to clear up their pets' excrement.
A 'legitimate, necessary and proportional tool' to keep Carbajosa de la Sagrada (first picture) clean, awareness campaigns have not worked and now lazy owners need to be identified and fined, says mayor Pedro Samuel Martín.
The use of private detectives in Tarragona, Catalunya and in the Greater Madrid-region town of Colmenar Viejo has led to a drastic drop in the number of piles seen littering streets and pavements, Martín argues.
Whilst the vast majority of dog-walkers are responsible about clearing up their animals' number twos, he says, a small minority in the village of 6,900 inhabitants are spoiling public areas for everyone else.
Residents, with and without dogs of their own, have been complaining for some time.
Detectives will gather evidence, but do not have the capacity to find owners – they will present their findings to the Local Police, who will then slap sanctions of several hundred euros on offenders.
A poster has gone up in the town (second picture, from @aytocarbajosa on Twitter) reading: “Carbajosa council has resorted to private detectives to eradicate the practice of not collecting pets' ejections.
“This scheme will be start to operate in the village from this week.”
Towns, cities and villages across Spain are becoming ever more creative in their ways of stopping owners from leaving their dogs' deposits in the street – and many ingenious methods have brought huge success.
In Brunete (Madrid region), volunteers approach owners who walk away from their dollops and engage them in conversation about how lovely their pet is, asking his or her name and commenting on the breed – which gives them enough information to trace the dog and owner on the local census.
Next, the owner receives a personal house call to return his or her 'lost property', and the unpleasant package is handed over whilst council staff film their reaction.
Embarrassment is mighter than fines, it turns out – within weeks of the scheme starting in 2013, offences dropped off by over 70%.
Also in the Greater Madrid region, the town of Torrelodones set up a sculpture of a giant poo to 'shame' dog-owners, and anyone who took a selfie with it and posted it on social media would receive a free T-shirt.
Guadalajara, Castilla-La Mancha, and the Catalunya towns of Sitges and Parets (Barcelona province) and La Seu d'Urgell (Girona province) did likewise at around the same time, two-and-a-half years ago.
Second photograph: MaLópez21/Wikimedia Commons
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