Ahhh, the many noble uses of DNA testing — to free a wrongly convicted prisoner from death row, to nail down a rape conviction, to match a baby daddy to a baby and make him take some financial responsibility.
Then there’s using it to determine ownership of dog poop.
Call it the science of waste, or a waste of science, but increasingly apartment and condo management companies are considering and in some cases signing up for a service that, through DNA testing, matches unscooped dog poop to the offending dog who left it behind.
A recent report in the Pioneer Press says the service arrived in the Twin Cities area two months ago.
Rosedale Estates North, a 180-unit apartment complex in Roseville, is now sending samples of unscooped poop to a laboratory in Tennessee, where it’s compared to DNA that has been supplied by every dog owner in the complex, usually via a swab that has been swiped in the dog’s mouth.
The first offending sample was picked up Tuesday, May 15. Once the dog who dropped it is determined, its owner will face a $100 fine. Second offenses bring another $100 fine. A third offense leads to an order to get rid of the pet.
Jim Simpson, owner of BioPets Vet Lab in Knoxville, said the company started offering the dog-DNA service called PooPrints in 2008. He charges $30 for each DNA sample to be registered and $50 for each stool sample that is tested later.
In some cities, the service is managed through Rent 411, an apartment-finding company. Its owner says there are seven PooPrint customers in Minnesota.
Another townhouse complex considered signing up, according to the Pioneer Press, but dropped the plan when a volunteer offered to pick up poop herself every week.
Sometimes, it seems, we turn to technology when far simpler, cheaper, less intrusive solutions are available. Do we really need forensic poop spies when we could just pick it up?
(Photo: Tenant Daniel Allen cleans up after his 6 1/2-month-old puppy Creed at the Roseville apartment complex. Allen supports the “PooPrints” program and says the complex is cleaner since it started; by John Doman / Pioneer Press)
Posted by jwoestendiek May 24th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, apartment, biopets, biopets vet lab, dna, dog poop, dogs, droppings, feces, fines, knoxville, lab, laboratory, management, minnesota, owners, pets, poop, pooprints, property, registry, samples, science, science of waste, stool, technology, tennessee, testing, tracking, twin cities, waste, waste of science
The Saturday incident proves what he has been saying all along.
Both on his website and on signs he puts up in the park, he warns that dog poop can be dangerous; and urges that dog owners pick it up.
We have no disagreement with that.
According to his report in the New Haven Independent, a family on a picnic returned home and noticed their daughter “had a smelly substance under her fingernails … Upon further inspection, the 4-year-old had some of the same substance in her mouth and ears…
“Yep, you guessed it. The substance was dog feces. They cleaned her up but overnight had to take her to the emergency room because she was vomiting … Upon testing the little girl, they found her stomach swarming with coliform bacteria …”
A good doggie defense lawyer might point out here that, unlikely as it is to have come from another source, there’s no proof that the poop came from a dog. As one slightly less than sensitive commenter on the Ross post says, “there are a lot worse things than dog poop (needles for instance) littering the parks and streets of New Haven – you’re lucky that it was only dog poop and not something worse.”
As another chimed in “the girl could have pricked herself with a heroin needle, suffocated on a used condom or cut herself on broken beer bottles.”
A good doggie defense lawyer might further raise the question in the jury’s mind as to why the family, on top of not noticing their daughter when she was playing in poop, didn’t detect the presence of the substance until their return home.
But that’s not the point, at least not to Andy Ross, who had the misfortune of bearing the wrath of mom.
On his signs urging dog walkers to pick up the poop, he lists his email address and phone number. The mother, for some reason, called to yell at him.
“At first she blamed me until I pointed out that I am the one trying to stop this disgusting and total irresponsibility on behalf of dog owners,” he reported. The woman was threatening to sue the city, he said. ”She was piping mad and I do not blame her.”
“I hope that every group that has the ability to get out this horrible story to residents does,” Ross wrote. “Spring is here and children play in the park. Others just enjoy walking around the park with out having to navigate their way through dog feces. This is not just a Wooster Square Park problem; I am sure it is prevalent in other city parks too. This is both a health and quality of life issue we all need to pay attention to.”
Comments on his report are evenly divided between those who agree what happened to the four-year-old was horrendous, and those who point out it could have been worse, and ask why no one in the family noticed when the child was smearing poop on herself.
“Um, I can’t speak for everyone – but I grew up with a dog that poo’d all over the lawn, spent A LOT of time playing on said lawn, and even at 4 I knew not to touch that s#!t … Sounds like questionable parenting to me.”
“People who don’t pick up after their pets are selfish and uncivilized,” said another. “I would recommend to the upset mother that she needs to take the time to teach her child not to eat things off the ground, or at least be more attentive to what her child is doing.”
“Careless dog owners stare at their iPhones while the dog is defecating and completely miss it,” wrote another “… My real question is, why own a beautiful animal if you’re not going to give it your attention? Put down your phone and love your puppy … you’ll feel better.”
I’d agree that both the owner that failed to pick up their dog’s poop, and the parents of the child who failed to notice their daughter toying with it, share the blame. And I especially like the idea of blaming the iPhone as well.
Many people tend to get so absorbed in whatever it is they are doing on their phones that they fail to notice both the subtle things and the blatant ones going on around them, whether it’s what a dog might be dropping or what a child might be picking up.
Even though hand-held communication devices may not be to blame for this particular incident, they — or is it our dependence on them? — do seem to take us out of the moment we’re in.
So pick up the poop. Monitor your dog. Watch your children. Enjoy the company of both. And leave the stupid phone at home.
Let a day in the park be a day in the park.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 28th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: andy ross, animals, consideration, daughter, dog, dogs, droppings, feces, girl, grass, health, hospital, law, mad, mother, new haven, park, parks, pets, pick-up, picnic, played, playing, poop, responsibility, safety, sanitation, scoop, sickened, signs, vigilante, warning, wooster square park
Officials in New Taipei City say their dog poop lottery was a resounding success – more than 4,000 people collected 14,500 bags of excrement.
For each bag they turned in, they were given a lottery ticket, earning them a chance to win gold and household appliances.
Officials in the Taiwan city credit the program with cutting in half the amount of dog droppings on city streets.
The program began in August and was initially planned to run until October, but it was so successful the city extended it a couple of more months — up until they started running out of gold, the BBC reported.
Final prizes were awarded this week, with the big winner receiving a gold ingot worth $2,200. The woman, in her 50s, was part of a team of volunteers that clean the streets regularly.
Smaller gold ingots, worth several hundred dollars, were given to four other prizewinners.
A total of 85 people won prizes, including household appliances.
City officials told the BBC they did not know how many of the winners were motivated by gold, as opposed to people who regularly pick up the poop of their own dogs or other’s.
Officials say they hope residents have gotten into the habit of picking up dog droppings, and that they will continue to do so without financial rewards.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 9th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, behavior, clean, dog, dogs, droppings, feces, gold, incentive, ingots, lottery, new tapei city, pets, pick-up, poop, prizes, program, rewards, scoop, taiwan, waste
An apartment complex in New Hampshire is the latest entity to turn to DNA testing of dog poop in an attempt to catch scofflaws who aren’t picking up after their pets.
The manager of the Timberwood Commons in Lebanon has turned to a company called PooPrints, run by a lab called BioPet in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Residents have been told that they must submit a sample of their dog’s DNA for the apartment database. After that, any offending anonymous droppings can be sent off to the Knoxville lab to be matched to their source through further testing.
When an offender is pinpointed through his or her poop, his or her owner will be required to pay for the lab test, and face further, still to be determined, action.
This, mind you, in the “Live Free or Die” state.
Such testing programs have been going on for a couple of years now in other parts of the world, like Petah Tikva in Israel.
Last year, a luxury condominium complex in Baltimore was on the verge of establishing a similar poop testing program, but changed its mind.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 28th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: amok, animals, apartment, big brother, biopet, complex, dna, dog, dogs, droppings, feces, forensics, investigation, lab, laboratory, lebanon, live free or die, new hampshire, pets, pick-up, poo prints, poop, pooprints, scofflaws, scoop, technology, testing, timberwood commons, waste
From across the pond comes the Dicky Bag, an airtight, zip-able neoprene pouch designed to tote your nasty sack of dog poop to the nearest garbage receptacle in a clean and odor- free manner.
The Dicky Bag was created by a husband and wife team that left the rat race in London and moved to Cornwall to find a better life.
Barry Davies was an advertising account director, his wife a theatrical agent and operator of a dance and theater school. One of the first things they did after leaving the city was get a dog, leading them to quickly learn that ” along with all the good things a dog can bring to a family they also bring a lot of crap (and I mean that literally),” they say on their website.
“As responsible owners we always pick up our dog’s poo but are often then left with the problem of what to do with it then. There’s never a bin when you need one.”
The Davies, decided to create a hands-free, odor-free poop tote. Living in Newquay, a surfing hot spot, and home to many wetsuit shops, they took their idea to a neoprene factory — neoprene being lightweight, semi rigid and capable of forming an airtight seal.
After some refinements to the prototype, they’ve introduced the Dicky Bag, which has an airtight storage area for full bags, a dispensing area for clean bags and room to store a spare roll of clean bags.
They call their product “the No. 1 answer to dog’s No. 2′s.”
Posted by jwoestendiek May 12th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: airtight, animals, barry davies, container, davies, dicky bag, dog, dogs, droppings, feces, neoprene, newquay, news, odor-free, ohmidog!, pets, poop, products, receptacle, surf, waste
The reason? Folks were emptying the dispensers only hours after they were being filled, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported.
“People walk up and take them until they’re gone,” he said. “And it’s not just one isolated incident. It’s everywhere and often.”
John Keprios, director of parks and recreation for the city of Edina, said the $12,000-per-year poop bag program was halted at eight parks that formerly stocked the bags.
“I would have loved to have kept providing them,” Keprios said. “Financially, it’s not just feasible if they treat it that way.”
One wonders how much it cost to put up the signs notifying people of that at the eight parks.
(Photo: Minneapolis Star-Tribune)
Posted by jwoestendiek May 12th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bags, dispensers, dog, droppings, edina, emptied, empty, feces, john keprios, minnesota, news, ohmidog!, parks, pets, poop, poop bags, theft
In light of news that the fine for not picking up dog waste in Baltimore has gone up to a possible $1,000 per dropping, we scoured the Internet yesterday — ok, maybe we just scanned it — to get some idea of what fines other cities impose for unscooped poop.
We can report that (A) we’re confused, (B) there seems to be a wide variance, (C) one must sometimes wade through a lot of poop on the Internet to get facts, and (D) somebody in New York — likely either a vigilante or a graffiti artist with low self esteem — is going around spray painting unpicked-up poop.
We’re not sure what the penalty for spray painting poop in New York is, but the fine imposed on an owner who doesn’t pick it up is $250. It was increased last year from $100.
Since the $250 penalty was put in place Nov. 7, 2008, about 54 citations a month have been issued — about the same as under the old fine, according to the New York Post.
New York Sanitation Department spokesman Matt Lipani told the Post that the laws, and the penalities, seem to make no difference: “There is absolutely no correlation between the amount of canine-waste summonses the department writes, or the cost of the summonses, and whether or not dog owners pick up after their dogs.”
Moving on to Hoboken, N.J., we can report that the city raised it’s dog poop fines to a maximum of $2,000 in 2007, and also announced plans to publish offending dog owners’ names on the Internet. It’s not clear if either became common practice.
In San Francisco, a city looking into ways of converting poop into methane gas for fuel, the maximum fine for not picking up your dog’s waste is $319.
London hits offenders with fines as high as $700.
In Lafayette, Colorado, one of the few cities I could find that’s kind enough to make the information easy to locate on its website, the fines are $140 to $165 for the first offense, $240 for the second offense and from $340 to $1000 for the third offense.
What stood out most, though, in my foray into feces law, is how hard to find and little-publicized the local ordinances are. Considering their whole purpose is to create a deterrent effect, you’d think more effort would be made — in Baltimore and a lot of other cities — to get that information out.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 26th, 2009 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: baltimore, cities, city, dispose, dog, droppings, fecal, feces, fines, graffiti, hoboken, law, matter, municipalities, new york, ordinances, penalties, penalty, poop, public, san francisco, scoop, spray paint, video, vigilante, waste
Times are as hard for Kelley Davis as they are for everybody else, so when Augie, her family’s Swiss mountain dog gobbled up $400 in cash she was going to put in the bank — three $100′s and five $20′s — she started keeping a close eye on Augie’s doggie droppings.
The Apex, N.C. mother took the dog for a long walk on Saturday and that’s when Augie made a deposit that included her deposit. Or at least, once rinsed and pieced back together, $160 of it.
Davis, 42, a physical therapist, had left the money on her bedroom dresser, the Charlotte Observer reports. Augie, who is 2, helped himself.
When she saw pieces of the money in Augie’s droppings Saturday, Davis grabbed a garden hose and yelled, “Kids, get the colander!” she said.
By Monday night, Davis had the remnants of $160. She’s hoping to reclaim the full amount eventually.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 19th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: $400, augie, bills, cash, charlotte, colander, dog, droppings, eats, feces, hose, hundreds, money, north carolina, poops, reclaim, swiss mountain dog, twenties, waste
We’ve reported on this before, but, given our previous post, and seeing as it has made the New York Times, it bears repeating: A city near Tel Aviv is logging information about the DNA of local dogs — by collecting their poop.
The idea is that, in the future, they will be able to analyze unscooped poop, track down the owners and hit them with a fine.
It all got started when the mayor of Petah Tikva called veterinarian Tika Bar-On, the city’s director of veterinary services, and asked if it was possible to use DNA fingerprinting to identify which dogs pooped on his city streets without picking up after them.
As a result, Bar-On introduced the first-ever CSI: Dog poop unit.
Bar-On recruited 12-year-olds from a local grade school to go door to door, persuading dog owners to donate samples, to get the registry started. She’s also managed to get saliva samples from dogs at festivals. And she’s arranging to have her poop squad analyze properly disposed of poop, so that responsible pet owners can get rewards — another incentive for them to register.
To date, the Israeli dog DNA bank contains more than 100 samples. According to Bar-On, about 90 percent of owners agree to donate samples when asked.
The other 10 percent, apparently, are saying no shit. Or spit.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 15th, 2008 under Muttsblog.
Tags: collection, dna, dna testing, dog, droppings, fecal matter, fingerprinting, israel, litter, petah tikva, poop, registry, scoop, shit, veterinary