Pooprints, based in Tennessee (USA), is offering DNA testing of a different kind. It is not about testing your mixed breed dog to find out their lineage, it’s about DNA testing of dog poo!
The number of subdivisions, condominium-style accommodation developments, and apartment complexes is on the rise in the US. This is a result of a ‘downsizing’ of accommodation because of the economic recession as well as growth in population centres where work is available, but cost of living and commuting times are also an issue. In these types of developments, there are dog owners living alongside non-dog owners. And poop is a problem.
(For my New Zealand readers, read my Last Word column in the March 2011 issue of NZ Dog World magazine. In that column, I discussed the looming liability of infill housing, population growth, and the growing problem of dog owners who do not clean up after their dog.)
The company’s service is rather straightforward. First, a residential community decides to start a dog DNA testing programme. Usually, this test is mandatory as part of signing up to live there. A mouth swab is taken of your dog and sent for DNA testing and the results are entered into that site’s database.
Then, a site manager is probably responsible for poop patrol in your community. They take samples of poop that has not been cleaned up and send the samples for DNA testing (because epithelial cells in the wall of the intestine are excreted every time a dog defecates). The site manager will be given a report about the dog/owner match in order for followup to occur.
Communities will have rules about the number of infringements required for that person to be fined, or worse, kicked out of their residence.
It may sound ‘over the top’ but it is a symptom of how strongly some people feel about poop that is not cleaned up.
CNN covered the story of one residential development in New Hampshire that has signed up to use the Pooprints system. Read about it here.