Europe has started DNA testing dog poop to fine irresponsible pet owners who do not pick up their pets’ mess in public areas. The novel solution has proven to be difficult to implement so far, but effective.
The small town of Malnate in Italy is one of the recent European cities that have started DNA testing dog poop. Dog parents were asked to register their pets in the city environmental department’s database. Around 2,156 pet owners complied with the request and submitted their dogs’ saliva samples for registration. Those who did not comply were fined $58.
Giuseppe Riggi, Malnate’s environmental commissioner, told ABC News that DNA testing dog poop seems to be an effective way to dissuade pet owners from leaving their animal’s droppings behind. Pet owners also seem to be benefiting from the new ordinance.
“The deterrent effect is considerable. Knowing that the local dogs are now recognizable has led many of their masters to behave civilly and the sidewalks are cleaner. At the same time, pet owners thank us because now the other citizens look at them with less distrust,” Riggi said.
Malnate is not the only city in Europe dealing with dog excretions. Dog droppings have become a problem all across Europe. There are laws in place, like the fouling laws in the UK, to prevent and discourage pet parents from leaving their dogs’ messes behind, but the laws are difficult to enforce. Usually, owners must be caught in the act to get a fine. However, now that law officials have begun DNA testing dog poop. it has become easier to fine irresponsible pet owners.
According to The Express, Britain may have been the first to launch a pilot program for DNA testing dog poop in 2016. Two years ago, the London Borough of Dagenham worked with PooPrints, animal DNA specialists, to create a database for dogs. Unlike Malnate, however, it seems Britain has not forced pet owners to register their dogs yet. So far, only pet microchips are mandatory in the UK.
Meanwhile, in the US, New York has come up with the Pooper Scooper Law which requires property owners to clean up any animal waste within their property’s grid even if they do not own a pet, reported the official website of the NY city. Pet parents and property owners alike can be reported to the city if they do not comply with the Pooper Scooper law. However, they can only be fined if a city agent actually sees the crime take place. Furthermore, persons with disabilities who have guide or service dogs do not have to comply with the Pooper Scooper laws.
Overall, it seems like the main problem is that some pet owners are irresponsible and don’t pick up their dog’s poop. To avoid fines and any angry glares from people in public, pet owners should always carry poop bags with them and clean up after their dogs.