DNA Dog Poop Tests Sniff Out Pet Owners Who Don't Pick Up

ANNAPOLIS, MD — When nature calls, dogs can’t help it. But their owners should dispose of the waste to be good neighbors, say leaders at one upscale Annapolis condo complex. Since some two-legged offenders aren’t following the rules, the board of The Residence at Park Place has adopted a high-tech solution: Doggie DNA samples.

Despite meetings about poop scooping, emails to residents, fines and the installation of a camera in the condo’s on-site Bark Place Dog Park, some people aren’t picking up behind their fur babies. Images from the camera weren’t conclusive on which dog left behind a deposit, so matching DNA from the waste to the samples collected from nearly two dozen residents’ pets is the next step.

Annapolis city ordinance requires pet owners to clean up after their pooches or face a $100 fine per violation.

The $90 cost to screen the dog poop DNA will be charged to the problem pet owner, along with a condo association fine, which has not yet been determined.

“What we hear is once you implement this, your problem goes to practically zero and it’s not something that has to be done,” Eric Anderson, board member, told the Capital-Gazette. “It’s something to encourage people to do the right thing.”

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The Watershed Stewards Academy urges Anne Arundel County residents to pick up dog waste. The un-scooped poop contains bacteria that pollutes local rivers and the Chesapeake Bay when rain carries the waste into the waterways. County law requires pet owners to pick up behind their animals or face a fine ranging from $5 up to $500. Links to pet waste removal services can be found on the website.

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Pet waste also contains nutrients that can cause dead zones in the Bay. All Anne Arundel County waterways are closed to human contact for 48 hours after every rain storm exceeding 1 inch of rainfall because of bacteria pollution, much of it from pet waste, that washes into the rivers and streams.

Experts recommend scooping waste into a trash bag, then double-wrapping it with another bag and putting in the garbage.

Image via Shutterstock

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