NOTE: I want to emphasize that I don't plan on actually doing this. I'm just curious about it because of the idea's sheer absurdity. "Why" is not within the scope of this question.

Suppose that there's someone I really don't like. To express my hatred of this person, I decide that symbolism would speak louder than words. So I relieve myself in a box and mail it to them.

I feel like the exact consequences for this sort of thing would vary by state and municipality. So here's my specific question: How would the following factors determine the legal consequences I face after this act?

  • The existing relationship (if any) between me and the recipient.
  • The service I use to mail the "package" (e.g. the Postal Service vs. a private carrier like UPS).
  • The state in which the sender and the recipient live.
  • Whether or not I also wrap the "payload" in something (a bag, a smaller box, Tupperware, etc.).
  • Whether or not this particular "package" is even legal to mail.

You can assume:

  • The recipient lives in America, but not necessarily in the same city or state as me (New York).
  • I provide a correct return address.
  • The package is not intercepted. The recipient gets the package and opens it.
  • There's no political motivation.
  • I don't leave a written message in the box (no letter or anything).
  • The box is not damaged or weakened by my "payload".
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    So you want to know the legal implications of mailing what is essentially hazardous medical waste to somebody? I understand the absurdity, but why on earth would one be so stupid to mail this and put a correct return address on it??? Is it legal to mail poop? (note though that this is animal waste, not human, so I don't know the underlying legal difference) – Ron Beyer May 15 at 15:31
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    "Why" is not the point of this question. – JesseTG May 15 at 16:41
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    Well aware of that, I suppose that somebody having that level of intelligence to mail human waste would put a proper return address, I would liken it to mailing anthrax with proper return address. – Ron Beyer May 15 at 17:06
  • I'm sure Florida Man will give it a try at some point. – JesseTG May 15 at 17:14
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    If I were to receive such a package, I would definitely mark it as "return to sender." – DPenner1 May 15 at 20:17
up vote 2 down vote accepted

"Why" is not within the scope of this question.

I hate to tell you this, but the answer to the question depends heavily upon why you are doing it.

People send fecal samples in the mail all the time for medical testing reasons, although you generally need to package it properly and declare the contents to do so legally. If you send a properly packaged fecal sample to a medical lab, they'll charge you for the testing and send you an invoice. Or, they might call you up and ask what kind of test you want since you didn't provide a cover letter.

If you send it to be harassing or annoying it is probably some sort of misdemeanor offense under both state law and federal postal laws.

If you send it knowing that you have a deadly contagious disease that is likely to infect the recipient, it is likely to be a serious state and federal felony.

Your intent could often be inferred from the relationship between you and the person to whom you send it. If you send it to your ex-girlfriend, the assumption will be that it is harassment. If you send it to the President, the assumption will be that it was either political protest or terrorism.

The practical reality is that unless it is packed in a smell controlling proper package, it will be intercepted.

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