Apartment complexes target dog poop scofflaws with DNA testing

The relatively low price and ease of DNA testing has led one apartment complex to take what some might call a radical step in combating scofflaws: DNA testing for dogs in the complex so managers can easily ID those who aren’t picking up their canine’s waste.

Timberwood Commons in Lebanon, New Hampshire, is requiring residents with dogs to provide DNA samples of their dogs, obtained via mouth swaps. The complex is just the latest among a growing number of rental properties to implement such testing.

The complex is using testing via PooPrints, a subsidiary of BioPet Vet Lab in Knoxville, Tennessee. Unscooped dog poop is matched to DNA already submitted by residents after a sample of the waste is sent to BioPet Vet Lab.

First-time violators at Timberwood receive a warning, though they have to pay a $60 fee to cover the DNA testing costs. Any further infractions are considered a lease violation and the offender will be forced to depart the premises.

The PooPrints website estimates a single pet creates 276 pounds of waste per year, though we’re not sure how that works out between say, a St. Bernard, and a chihuahua. The site also notes that 40 percent of dog poop goes unscooped, and that Consumer Reports listed dog poop at No. 6 among Americans’ top gripes in 2010.

It’s hard enough to find an apartment complex that allows dogs, and those who eschew the rules should indeed be punished, as property manager Debbie Violette says. We have to wonder, though, if PooPrints should expand into cat feces, as well. Despite the fact that most give their cats a litter box to use, some let them run free, and they deposit pet waste as well.

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