Man under Coronavirus Lockdown in Spain Tries to Fool Police by Walking Stuffed Toy Dog

Spanish police have warned citizens against trying to evade the country's COVID-19 lockdown after a man was caught on camera trying to trick officers using a stuffed toy dog.

Footage released by the National Police Corps union showed a patrol unit confronting the unidentified man, who had attached the toy dog to a leash as he was standing on a street—despite the nationwide quarantine. The encounter reportedly took place in Palencia on Monday.

Spain's prime minister Pedro Sánchez last weekend imposed a 15-day "state of alarm" that limited movement in the country apart from traveling for work, food or medical issues.

During the period, the government said pet-owners could take animals outside for walks or to go to the toilet.

But it is one small loophole some have been attempting to exploit, much to the annoyance of law enforcement, which has reinforced calls to stay indoors and self-isolate.

"We ask for good judgement during the #StateOfAlarm because of the COVID-19," the union tweeted.

"We are facing [too] serious a situation to have you walking on the street trying to fool the police. You don't fool us and also you'll be fined. It is a matter of public health."

In the footage, filmed from above, a National Police patrol car is seen stopping beside the man, who gestures at the leashed toy before picking it up and walking away from the sidewalk.

"You can not be more irresponsible, some believe that this is laughable and take it as a joke. This is very serious. We'll see if he keeps laughing when the penalty arrives," the union added, sharing an image showing that anyone who breaks the rules can face fines of up to €600,000 ($645,426).

But news outlet Diario Palentino reported the man returned to his home and was not fined on the spot. The police union's video has been viewed more than 72,000 times on Twitter since Monday.

Earlier this week, a man in Murcia was ordered to return home after leaving his property dressed in a Tyrannosaurus Rex outfit. Police told HuffPost that he too had not been fined.

"During state of alarm, walking of pets is allowed if accompanied by one person, always short walks so they can relieve themselves. Having a Tyrannosaurus Rex is not covered. #stayathome," Murcia Police wrote Monday alongside the video, which was set to the Jurassic Park theme tune.

Not so lucky were a group of men in Tenerife who were reportedly fined hundreds of euros after leaving their homes to play a sports game and later boasting about it on social media.

Spain's tough response to the COVID-19 outbreak continues, as infections in the country surpassed 15,000 and the death toll reached at least 640, according to Johns Hopkins University data. At the time of writing over 1,000 people have recovered after contracting the illness in Spain.

On a global scale, COVID-19 has spread to more than 222,000 people, and caused more than 9,100 deaths. Approximately 84,500 people are believed to have recovered from the disease.

Sánchez's wife, Begoña Gómez, was previously confirmed to have contracted the illness. The novel coronavirus surfaced in the Chinese city of Wuhan last year, but Europe is now considered to be the new "epicenter" of the outbreak, according to the director of the World Health Organization.

World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Hygiene advice

  • Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before; during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
  • Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.

Medical advice

  • If you feel unwell (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and call local health authorities in advance.
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.

Mask usage

  • Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
  • Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
  • Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks.
  • Clean hands after disposing of mask.
  • Do not reuse single-use masks.
National police - Spain
National police patrol is seen in Madrid on the second working day of the state of alarm on March 17, 2020 in Madrid, Spain. David Benito/Getty
Man under Coronavirus Lockdown in Spain Tries to Fool Police by Walking Stuffed Toy Dog | News