Archive for March, 2011
Monday, March 7th, 2011
That jerk who lets his dog squat on your rare patch of urban grass may soon be caught with his tail between his legs.
Forget warning signs and dirty looks. A U.S. company is marketing a solution to one of the scourges of condo life: doggie doo DNA testing.
The CSI-like service, dubbed PooPrints, aims to name and shame dog owners, who don’t clean up after their pets.
Poo pickup is a condo quandary that is incredibly difficult to enforce, says Bill Thompson of Malvern Condominium Property Management, which runs 50 buildings in the GTA.
People, parking and pets are the “three P’s” of condo problems, Thompson says.
His reaction to doggie DNA testing? “Woo hoo, there’s only two P’s left.”
“I love it,” he says. “This will be a great step toward solving the pet problem.”
Here’s how it works: All dogs in a building get a cheek swab. Their DNA profile is put on file. The next time unclaimed poo appears, a smear of the mess is mailed to a lab in Tennessee where the culprit is identified.
The service is causing a big stink as condo buildings and apartment complexes across the U.S. propose or enforce the poo test.
The board at a ritzy condo in Baltimore, Md. recently considered mandating DNA tests for every dog on its premises. Under the board’s proposal, owners would pay $50 each to cover the test and supplies, plus an extra $10 per month to cover the cost of having the building staff scoop the poop. Abandoned poop would cost the offending pet owner $500.
“It’s absolutely ridiculous,” resident Richard Hopp, who lives in the building with his dog Sparky, told the Baltimore Sun. “I feel like I’m living in a Seinfeld episode.”
Eric Mayer of BioPet Vet Lab, the company that runs PooPrints, says it’s not all about playing Big Brother. Canine droppings have become an environmental concern as more and more people in urban areas become dog owners.
“This stuff is literally piling up,” he says. “Most people do take care of their pets. There’s just a couple who ruin it for everyone else.”
Condo boards in Toronto don’t have the power to impose fines, but members could propose and vote on doggie DNA testing.
Gayla Anderson would welcome the service at her downtown waterfront condominium. It gets messy behind her building in the winter as below-zero temperatures hit Toronto and dog owners make outdoor adventures quick — and yes, dirty.
“Next thing you know, the snow melts and there’s poo everywhere,” says Anderson, who is careful to clean up after her own pup, a Chihuahua named Tequila. “There’s lots of complaining.”
Others say the offenders are tricky, popping out late at night or sneaking behind a corner when they think no one is looking.
“You never see who it is. You just see the result,” says Yvette Barnes, who lives in an apartment building downtown with Lil Mama, her Yorkie/Shih Tzu mix.
“It’s not difficult,” Barnes says. “Frickin’ pick it up.”