Saturday, April 19, 2014         

 Print   Email   Comment | View 15 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

Dog-doo scofflaws get bagged through DNA testing

By Rodrique Ngowi

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 06:56 a.m. HST, Nov 27, 2013

BRAINTREE, Mass. » Apartment and condo managers, dogged by complaints from those who've experienced the squishy and smelly sensation of stepping onto a pile of dog doo, are turning to DNA testing to identify the culprits who don't clean up after their pets.

It's the latest twist in the long-running struggle to keep canine waste off lawns, hallways, elevators and other common areas of animal-friendly community buildings.

DNA monitoring has yielded immediate and dramatic results in the condominium community of Devon Wood, where maintenance staff previously reported seeing, stepping onto or driving over several piles of droppings each week on its 350-acre property.

"We initially didn't — for a better part of a month — didn't find any waste, which just floored us," said Barbara Kansky, who manages the 398-unit condo development in the town of Braintree that introduced DNA monitoring in July.

Polite reminders, letters and notices previously failed to persuade errant pet owners to observe condo rules requiring them to clean up after their animals, Kansky said. There were problems even after residents reported seeing others failing to pick up their dog's messes.

"We would call or send a letter and that dog owner would say: 'Prove it,'" Kansky said.

So she searched online and found Knoxville, Tenn.-based BioPet Vet Lab, which specializes in testing DNA from dog poop to identify offending animals. BioPet has beefed up its staff with more scientists to meet demand for what Eric Mayer, director of business development, calls "a booming, growing, new product," and has started distributing throughout the U.S. and into Canada, Israel and Singapore in the past two years.

The service, branded PooPrints, is a very simple, Mayer said.

The first step is to register the DNA of all dogs in the community by collecting samples of their cheek cells using a pair of sterile swabs, Mayer said in an email. The second is to collect a sample of feces and send it to the lab for matching.

An attorney advised Kansky that condo trustees could enforce existing condo rules by requiring all dog owners to submit their animals for collection of DNA samples. Dog owners paid a one-time fee of $59.95 for the initial DNA testing for the database. Subsequent lab tests of dog droppings that end up identifying the offending animal result in a $50 testing fee plus a $100 fine.

So far, one resident dog has been identified as an offender.

Kerry Weidner, a pet owner in Devon Wood, says the service has transformed life at the sprawling complex.

"We used to see dog poop almost every other day. You had to worry about where you walk on the grass because there was dog poop, a lot of different places," Weidner said. "Now, you don't really have to worry about dog poop. You can walk where you want, the grass is now ours again, we don't have to worry about it, and that's just a great thing."

Now, Kansky said, residents want her to solve another problem.

"We've now had people say: 'Well, now can we get them to stop having their dogs lift their legs on the shrubs?'" Kansky said, smiling. "That's a little more difficult and we are not going to tackle that."

 Print   Email   Comment | View 15 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

You must be subscribed to participate in discussions
By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. Because only subscribers are allowed to comment, we have your personal information and are able to contact you. If your comments are inappropriate, you may receive a warning, and if you persist with such comments you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email commentfeedback@staradvertiser.com.
Leave a comment

Please login to leave a comment.
CloudForest wrote:
Whenever they have the b*lls to drug test the cops DAILY then I will believe in their ability to be fair to all people in under all circumstances.
on November 27,2013 | 05:23AM
HanabataDays wrote:
I honestly don't think it's the cops making those messes on your lawn.
on November 27,2013 | 06:13AM
Schmidtke1410 wrote:
What an incredible non-sequitur.
on November 27,2013 | 07:41AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Super wealthy community. The 350 acre condo development they are talking about is more than half the size of Kaka'ako. Over here it's the homeless defecating on your sidewalk. Maybe we can DNA test the but then what....get Brower to take a sledgehammer to the poop?

The rich have such cute little problems.

on November 27,2013 | 06:48AM
Slow wrote:
The middle class and the poor probably don't like stepping in dog poop either.
on November 27,2013 | 07:19AM
mikethenovice wrote:
They could swipe the homeless mouth, then swipe the handle bars of the shopping cart to know who was pushing it.
on November 27,2013 | 07:18AM
mikethenovice wrote:
Depends underpants for dogs. You don't expect the dog to hold it in.
on November 27,2013 | 07:19AM
mikethenovice wrote:
Cops will be donning a gas mask.
on November 27,2013 | 07:19AM
mikethenovice wrote:
How about using this kit on the homeless who also do it on the grass?
on November 27,2013 | 07:20AM
mikethenovice wrote:
Whatever happen to just picking up after someone else and move on with life. Are we drowning in so much technology that we just can't let things go?
on November 27,2013 | 07:23AM
Poipounder808 wrote:
Give me your address so I can come over and poop on your lawn.
on November 27,2013 | 07:53AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Get in line behind the homeless.
on November 27,2013 | 09:01AM
nodaddynotthebelt wrote:
It's sad that some people are so inconsiderate that they will not clean up after their dogs. These are the same people who leave their car in idle in the middle of a lane in a parking lot leaving a train of cars waiting as they wait for a parking space to open up at a particular area just so that they can be parked close to their destination.
on November 27,2013 | 09:34AM
lee1957 wrote:
The dogs are just being dogs, and unfortunately, the dog owners are just being dog owners, lazy and inconsiderate.
on November 27,2013 | 04:10PM
Mahalo wrote:
Hooray! Score one for the condo association.. Sorry I live in a condo too and have a dog and until I got my dog I didn't realize how many LAZY animal owners there are. I say make it a mandatory law in Hawaii!!
on November 27,2013 | 10:02AM
Breaking News