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Delivering Dung? Mailing Feces Is Legal, State Says


Last-minute holiday gift tip: Regifting is nearly always inappropriate.

Fruitcake being that rare exception to the rule, slapping a fresh coat of wrapping paper on unwanted tokens of someone else's affections can smack of insincerity.

Not so with a Dec. 10 anonymous e-mail request to the Virginia State Police, which seeks legal advice on a clever regifting idea that all but oozes with seasonal — and well-seasoned — sincerity.

“I would like to know if its illegal to give someone you hate, a [C]hristmas present, containing dog feces?” the writer asks. “And can it be mailed?”
State police, though attempting to provide guidance, could provide no firm advice.

“Sending poop … probably constitutes the transport of hazardous materials through the mail,” says Tom Lambert, a legal specialist for the agency.
A fair assumption, but U.S. Postal Service spokeswoman Cathy Boule offers this advice for committed gift givers, loaded with such holiday cheer that they just can't hold it:

“The bottom line is, yes [poop] can be mailed, but there are a lot of restrictions and guidelines that have to be followed,” Boule says. “We have strict guidelines.”

Among those guidelines, mailers must declare their dookie, along with a reason for sticking a stamp on it. Revenge doesn't pass the postal service smell test. And it must be packaged properly. In other words, no flaming paper bags.

The final arbiter is the U.S. Postal Service's Domestic Mail Manual, section 10, dealing with the shipping of hazardous materials, Boule says: “That would give him all the information how he should package it and how he should present it.”