A stroll through the neighborhood can be refreshing and relaxing. What is not refreshing is stepping in a pile of dog waste. A dog DNA testing franchise is hitting the scene to identify the offending owners who leave that stinky mess behind.
It's illegal to leave dog waste behind and could land a fine of up to $250 in Fairfax County Virginia, where I reside. Unfortunately, this law that is not enforced. According to Fairfaxcounty.gov, not one summons has been issued since the law was put into effect in 1999. Since the law is not enforced, it's up to residents to keep the neighborhoods clean.
Some neighborhoods across the country are trying to step up the effort to clean up their properties by enforcing the laws. In Houston, The Fairmont Museum District apartment complex has signed on with PooPrints, a company that uses DNA testing to identify the dog and its owner who left behind that pile of poo.
The new pet policy will require residents of the apartment complex to register their dogs with the property manager. The dog’s DNA will be registered from a swabbing of the dog's cheek.
This new program will allow property management to track down the owner and fine them up to $500. When dog waste is left behind, management would be able to scoop up a sample and send it off to PooPrints for analysis. Once a match is found, a warning or fine would be given.
Since the DNA registration will include a small fee, current residents will not have to register until they are ready to renew their lease.
PooPrints is a growing company and has 25 franchises throughout the United States. They are even helping keep neighborhoods clean in Singapore, Canada and Israel. The growing business suggests this may be the future of enforcing pet waste laws.
It may seem an extreme way of enforcing the pet waste laws, but there are serious health concerns. It's not just about fouling up a pair of shoes. It can end up in your water supply.
The dog waste can infect humans with toxocara canis, commonly known as large roundworm. Along with roundworm, bacteria can be present and cause cramps, diarrhea, kidney and intestinal illness and even death to people.
With the new plans to catch the offending owners, dog walkers better arm themselves with gloves and plastic bags to avoid health issues from handling dog waste as well as the hefty fines.
What do you think? Is this a great idea, or a violation of a dog's privacy?