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Which Pooch Pooped?
DNA has the answer
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A fancy condominium in the Baltimore area is plagued by a problem facing many neighborhoods around the country and indeed the world. At least one dog guardian is not scooping the poop, and the result is a mess that has residents upset. Steve Frans is a board member who has a dog, and is embarrassed by the mess that residents and guests must deal with. He has proposed a solution to the problem.

 
Frans’ idea is to require everyone who lives there with a dog to submit a sample of the dog’s saliva and pay $50 for the DNA testing of that saliva. There would also be a $10 per month fee for having the staff scoop the poop that is not cleaned up so that it can be tested for a match. Both saliva and feces contain DNA. Whoever is responsible for not cleaning up the mess (the person, not the dog!) will be fined $500.
 
Using DNA to identify offenders of this kind is not new. In Petah Tikva, Israel, as Julia Kamysz Lane wrote about in 2008, dog guardians were rewarded with pet supplies for submitting their dog’s poop for DNA identification and offenders whose dog’s poop was found unscooped (based on DNA matching) were to be fined.
 
Do you think using DNA to identify the offenders is a reasonable option? In what other ways could they solve the problem?

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Karen B. London, PhD, is a Bark columnist and a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist specializing in the evaluation and treatment of serious behavior problems in the domestic dog.

CommentsPost a Comment
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Submitted by Carolyn | May 21 2010 |

Well, I am sure there are those that will say DNA testing is an invasion of their privacy, or something along those lines. But short of banning dogs entirely, this may be a realistic solution since suddenly, there is accountability. I certainly can't blame non-dog lovers for being disgusted by poop in public places -- I hate it myself. We never leave home without pickup bags, and I have been known to clean up after others simply because I hate for all dog owners to get a bad name thanks to the inconsiderate ones.

Rewarding responsible behavior? I definitely think Israel is on to something!

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