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Condo considers DNA tests to track poopers

DNA testing, which may have its place in crime solving — not to mention pinpointing your baby daddy — is increasingly being considered around the world as a way to nab dog owners who fail to pick up poop.

Now, in addition to government bodies from Germany to Israel, a ritzy Baltimore condominium is considering using the technology to help track down the owners of the dog or dogs who are not being picked up after.

Some residents of the Scarlett Place Condominiums are so steamed by dog poop — at least some of which is being deposited indoors — they’re willing to watch thousands of dollars be spent in an effort to figure out whodunit or, more appropriately, whodroppedit.

Under the condo board’s proposed plan, all dogs in the building would be swabbed for DNA testing to create a database. Dog owners would pay $50 each to cover the costs of tests, and an additional $10 per month for the cost of having building staff pick up wayward piles of poop.

The staff would then send the samples to BioPet Vet Lab, a Tennessee-based company, which would compare the mailed-in samples to those in the dog poop database.

When the company is able to identify the owner of the dog whose poop was not scooped, that owner would pay a $500 fine.

“We pay all this money, and we’re walking around stepping in dog poop,” resident Steven Frans, the board member who proposed the plan, told the Baltimore Sun. “We bring guests over and this is what they’re greeted by.”

The Scarlett Place condo board is expected to make a decision later this week.

I, for one, would not want to live in a complex whose management, or for that matter, a city whose government, is so anal that it  goes around collecting dog poop and sending it in for analysis.

Such a program is underway, on a trial basis, in the city of Petah Tikva, a suburb of Tel Aviv in Israel, and other jurisdictions in Europe, as well as New York City, have considered it.

As for the Scarlett Place Condominiums, perhaps a cheaper route would be to hire a poop picker upper, adding that service to what its website describes as its “a plethora of desirable amenities.”

“Entering the lobby, you will be greeted by one of the Front Desk attendants who will take care of your packages, guests, concerns, and deliveries. Attendants are on duty 24 hours a day … A full service, recently remodeled health club is available 24 hours a day and a spectacular indoor pool is at your disposal complete with magnificent walls of glass overlooking The Inner Harbor and Scarlett Place Condominiums courtyard.”  

Meanwhile, if they pursue testing dog poop for DNA, I’m wondering what the more-money-than-they-know-what-to-do-with condo board’s next initiative will be: Establishing a database of their human residents so they can ascertain who’s wiping boogers on the elevator walls?


Comment from Peter
Time May 18, 2010 at 7:42 am

According to the article on Saturday in the Baltimore Sun, this whole idea is being driven by a member of the condo board who is vision impaired. He thinks everyone in the condo think its is his dog (because he can’t see) so he is quoted as saying he wants “vindication.” I wonder how much that is going to cost?

Comment from Resident
Time May 18, 2010 at 10:42 am

If you read the story carefully, you would have noted that the poop isn’t in the courtyard, but rather in the elevators, and on the carpets in the hallways. The problem isn’t neccessarily scooping the poop, but the costs associated with cleaning the carpets.

Comment from Therese
Time May 18, 2010 at 10:50 am

I can understand why this upsets some people – and that some dog owners are just lazy – but wouldn’t a portable hidden camera be cheaper and just as effective?

Comment from Anne’n’Spencer
Time May 18, 2010 at 12:29 pm

I dunno. I’m kind of on the fence on this one. According to Channel 11, the poop is being left indoors–on carpets and in front of peoples’ doorways. I’d probably be disgusted, too. I can see where you might miss an occasional pile outside, but what kind of person doesn’t clean up a mess on the carpet?

Comment from Lee
Time May 18, 2010 at 12:51 pm

From what I gathered in the article, people are allowing their dogs to poop inside the building and that is why they want to start this. That’s pretty nasty that a pet owner would be so lazy and not take their animal outside and instead lets them releive themselves in a common hallway. That is a health issue, it will stink, and really, why should homeowners have to dodge animal poop/pee INSIDE the building.

Comment from Mark
Time May 24, 2010 at 10:29 pm

What they need is an emergency pooper scooper (www.sooperscooper.com) right next to the fire extinguisher.