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DNA registry may put dog-poop deniers to the test

Those who don't pick up after their pets might be stepping into more than they bargained for

 ShutterstockDog pooping/Shutterstock

There’s that classic Peter Sellers scene in The Pink Panther Strikes Again.

Sellers, playing Inspector Clouseau, is checking into a hotel.

He notices a dog lying on the floor.

“Does your dog bite,” he asks the innkeeper, following proper petting protocol.

“No,” the innkeeper responds.

Inspector Clouseau kneels down to pet the dog, which promptly attacks him.

“I thought you said your dog did not bite,” the inspector yells at the innkeeper.

“It’s not my dog,” the innkeeper replies.

Well, not every dog bits but they do all poop.

But how can you tell which dog owner isn’t scooping the poop?

An American company is hoping to bring its PooPrints Dog DNA registration to Vancouver. It works with property management firms to set up a DNA registry of tenants’ or owners’ dogs so that if someone says, “It’s not my dog’s poop,” there’s a way to find out if they’re telling the truth. Recalcitrant dog owners can be fined if it’s discovered it is indeed their dog’s poop on the bottom on someone else’s shoe.

The company says that when buildings sign up with the program, poop-and-scoop compliance rates rise dramatically.

“We are in talks with several property management firms, landlords and strata corporations in Vancouver,” Garry Bradamore, president of the Revill Group, which is the Canadian distributor of PooPrints, said in an email to the Courier. “We’ve also spoken with the City of West Vancouver about our dog DNA registration program.”

West Vancouver has already stepped into the debate.

“I, as a dog owner, would support this kind of initiative and it may go a long way to ameliorating some of the disharmony in the community around dog ownership,” said Coun. Mary-Ann Booth when she suggested the district look into Fido feces forensics last March.

In an article in the North Shore News, she said genetic dung detectives are becoming “quite reasonably priced,” Booth added, and it could turn into a revenue generator for the district. Booth said she was aware of a strata building that adopted dog-doo DNA analysis to enforce $2,000 fines for owners who aren’t observing the poop-and-scoop rule.

PooPrints is owned by Biopet Laboratories of Knoxville, Tennessee, and says its DNA registry is available in more than 3,000 properties. It says it’s registered the DNA of 250,000 dogs.

It now has clients in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. Bradamore’s company, the Revill Group, has only recently started talks to offer the DNA registration to properties in B.C.

The idea of testing a dog’s poop to catch an errant owner who has refused to scoop might first have seemed like a “ridiculous notion,” Bradamore said in a press release. However, it’s becoming more appealing to pet owners and those who choose not to have a dog.

“Initially perceived as an enforcement tool to catch culprits, it is now being recognized as a pet-friendly amenity that brings value to property and residents," he said.

Read more from the Richmond News

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