CSI: Dog Poop

Multiunit properties are testing dog feces to see which tenant is not cleaning up after their dog.

By Cari Jorgensen | Posted: December 31, 2014, 12 p.m. PST

Dog poop can be a seriously stinky nuisance, especially if your neighbors are leaving it wherever their dog drops it. How many of you have had that experience? I certainly have. A neighbor decided to let his dog use my front lawn as his toilet and never cleaned it up (this happened more than once and stopped after confrontation). I’ve been in parks where the mess is right next to the trash bin. One time when I was out shopping with my sister-in-law, we saw it right in the middle of the parking lot.

It seems that for some people, cleaning up after one’s dog is either too much trouble or just not something they think is necessary.

Joe Gilmer, the board vice president of the Midtown Alexandria Station condos in Alexandria, Va., got fed up with dog waste being in the building’s elevator, vestibule and handicapped parking spaces (which greatly inconvenienced those with disabilities). Rather than putting up expensive surveillance cameras, the condo association enlisted the service of PooPrints.
Dog Potty
Not cleaning up after your dog could result in a fine, thanks to DNA. chalabala/iStock/Thinkstock

PooPrints is a pet waste management solution currently geared toward multiunit properties, and is reminiscent of a crime scene investigation team. Every dog living in the community must be registered and have his cheek swabbed for DNA identification. The dog’s information is then placed in the PooPrints system. If a pet parent leaves their dog’s mess, a sample is collected and sent to a lab where it is tested. When it’s matched with the DNA information in the system, the pet parent is identified and subsequently fined. In the case of a Midtown Alexandria Station condo resident, the fine came to $115 ($65 for the testing plus $50 for the infraction), according to The Washington Post.

So is PooPrints effective? Yes. Since its implementation at Midtown Alexandria Station a year ago, there has only been one incident. Others who have implemented the PooPrints service have also seen dramatic results. The Chase in Bethesda, MD previously had over 20 incidents. After PooPrints that number was reduced to two. Some of United Residential Properties’ seven different properties have not had any incidents since PooPrints. Others report incidents only rarely. However, one of their properties did end up testing 18 samples, all from the same dog. It turns out that owner never registered the pet in the database.

While the service has met with some success and support, not everyone is for it.

"The blowback that we get is, ‘That’s against my rights,’ and yada, yada. ‘This is Communist. This is illegal,’?” Chris Fontaine, a retired Marine who distributes PooPrints in Maryland, the District and Pennsylvania told The Washington Post.

Personally, I’m all for something makes the area cleaner and enforces responsible pet ownership. What do you think of this service? Would you want something like this implemented where you live? Let us know in the comments below.

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