A blunt method to remind dog owners to clean up

The latest crisis down at Olympia City Council is a rather stinky issue: dog poop.

Olympia closed its only off-leash dog park because neighbors to Sunrise Park tired of the noise and the smell of dog urine and waste. The park’s neighbors aren’t being unreasonable, and the city was right to hear their complaints.

Still, it’s a fact of life that dogs have to do their business somewhere. It’s another fact that owners have an obligation to clean up behind their animals, and not all of them do.

Olympia might take a page from the book of a small city in Spain. Faced with too many negligent dog owners, the town of Brunete started mailing poop back to those who left it.

The town maintains a database of registered dogs and their names. So the town council dispatched undercover volunteers to start up friendly chats with people leaving dog waste behind to learn the pet’s name. Then they scoop up the poop and deliver it via courier to the owner’s home in a container with the town logo and the label “lost property.”

Since they have mailed 147 boxes of dog poop in this town of 10,000, 70 percent of the problem has disappeared.