Dog DNA Scooping Owners Who Fail to Pick Up After Pets

Dog DNA now used to fine residents who fail to clean up after their pooches.

June 30, 2011, 8:26 AM

June 30, 2011 -- It is an age-old, smelly and messy problem for landlords, property owners and everyone who walks outside.

The dog drippings left behind by sloppy owners who fail to clean up after their pets.

"It's messy and it smells," Deborah Violette, manager of the Timberwood Commons apartment complex in Lebanon, N.H., told ABC News. "It's not acceptable."

Fed up with reminding her residents nicely, sending warning letters, even cleaning up after the dogs herself, and still finding dog drippings throughout the property, Violette turned to technology worthy of a CSI crime lab to nab her pooper perpetrators.

Dog DNA.

The property manager hired a company called PooPrints to make her canine arrests, and now requires all dog owning residents of her apartment complex to turn over a sample of their pooch's DNA.

How It Works

Dogs' cheeks are swabbed for DNA and mailed to the Knoxville, Tenn.-based company, which keeps the results on file.

Once the DNA is on file, PooPrints provides property owners with feces collection kits to help the would-be MacGyver's track their offending canines.

When dog droppings are found, the finder collects a small amount of the feces as evidence, puts it in a solution and mails it back to the lab.

"The community can mail in a very small amount of feces," Jim Simpson, president of BioPet Vet Lab, the company that owns PooPrints, told ABC. "We extract DNA from that feces and then we make a match back to the dog."

Simpson said about 20 properties in the country use the kits, which, he says, have a 99.9 percent accuracy guarantee.

Timberwood Condominium manager Violette now includes language about the DNA testing in a lease addendum addressing pet issues.

So far, she said, she has gotten a positive response from dog owners and the program is already serving as a deterrent.

"If they match, they are going to get one warning," Violette said. "If it happens again, they are going to have to leave or remove the dog."

A Florida condo association is taking an even harsher approach to its canine problem after residents complained of messes in the complex's hallways and outdoor common areas.

Beginning Aug. 1, pet owning residents at the Village of Abacoa condominium complex in Jupiter will be required to pay a one-time, $200 fee to keep their dog's genetic information on file at the DNA Pet World Registry.

Matthew Brickman, president of the condo association, said he was fed up with residents not picking up after their animals, costing the association, and the community's non-pet owners, thousands of dollars in cleanup fees.

"Now we collect them and send them off," he said. "We know which dog it was and only that one owner gets fined."

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events