Spanish Town Hires Canine Detective

May 25, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. negligent /ˈnɛgʒənt/ (adj.) – careless or irresponsible
Example: The negligent pet owner lets his dog pee anywhere.

2. feces /ˈfi (n.) – body waste of humans and animals that is discharged through the anus
ExampleVolunteers clean the public places dirtied with dog feces.

3. canine /ˈkeɪɪn/ (adj.) – referring to dogs
ExampleWolves belong to the canine family.

4. incognito /ˌɪnɒgˈniʊ/ (adj.) – having a secret or hidden identity
ExampleThe incognito detective was never noticed by the people.

5. defecate /ˈdɛfɪˌkeɪt/ (v.) – to remove feces from the body
Example: Pets are not allowed to defecate in public places.


Read the text below.
A Spanish town has hired a detective to spy on negligent pet owners who do not properly dispose of their pet’s feces in public places.

The mayor of Colmenar Viejo [kol-me-NAR vye-ho], a historical town in Spain, has recently appointed a professional “canine detective” to keep watch on dog owners. This has been done after the initiative on fines and warning signs have apparently failed to remind pet owners to responsibly take care of their pets’ wastes.

The incognito detective has to watch the streets and other public places that are most often dirtied with dog’s feces. He also has to secretly capture a video of pet owners leaving behind their dog’s waste in public areas. This video will serve as evidence, along with a report, to be used in police proceedings.

The town’s authority is still deciding whether the dog’s dirt has to be collected for DNA evidence.

Colmenar Viejo’s local government still continues to put fines on negligent pet owners. Offenders may pay up to 150 Euros (or 207 dollars). Higher penalties will be sanctioned to repeat offenders.

Miguel Angel Santamaria, the town’s mayor, said that most pet owners in Colmenar Viejo are responsible enough, not letting their pets defecate in inappropriate places and picking up the feces immediately. However, there is still a small percentage of pet owners who are inconsiderate. Some feces are often found in pavements, school entrances, and even children’s playgrounds.

Other towns are also doing the same initiative. In Barcelona and Madrid, the fine is 1,500 Euros (or 2079 dollars). In Alcala de Henares and Leganes, there are also undercover officers who watch pet owners, while Mostoles has neighborhood volunteers.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Is it really necessary to hire a detective to watch for irresponsible pet owners? Why or why not?
·         What are the other ways to make sure that pet owners clean their pets’ waste? Explain.

Discussion B

·         How important is cleanliness in public places? Explain.
·         What can people do to keep the environment clean?


May 25, 2014