The average dog is a nicer person than the average person. — Andy Rooney

You know that sinking feeling you get when you realize you’ve stepped right in the middle of a pile of dog poop?

Well, it seems some communities have found a way to crack down on nuisances like this.

My son Domer called the other night and informed me apartment communities are using the science of DNA to find out which owners aren’t picking up deposits left by their pooches — and to fine them accordingly.


Well, yes.

And why not? Dogs can’t pick up and flush their own waste, and poop attracts flies. Since the science is available, apartments and condos are finally able to crack down on violators.

For a one-time fee, an owner lets his dog’s saliva be swabbed and its poop tested by a DNA lab (PooPrints out of Nashville, TN, came up with the idea). The info is placed on file. If a violation occurs, the record is examined, and the owner of whoever laid the “egg” is assessed a hefty fine.

Let’s get something straight right off the bat — nobody likes to pick up dog waste. It’s smelly and squishy and, right out of the dog, it’s hot.

But that’s one thing you accept when you take on the responsibility of dog-ownership.

So when Dallas and I go for our walkies, I always carry along poop-bags, just for that purpose.

Because invariably, he’s wont to dump a load on the pristine grass of one of my neighbors — one of those Yard-of-the-Month sort of places. And I don’t want some old guy in a striped bathrobe and slippers screaming at us out of his back door!

Domer said apartment complexes used to get complaints of folks finding dog-doo in their underground garages. Seems dog owners didn’t want to walk Fido in the snow, so they figured a nice, heated garage would suffice. Can you imagine the stench if everyone let their dog poop inside — without picking up the waste??

Anyway, before DNA testing came along, nobody could prove whose dog left the deposit. Not so any more.

It’s a great idea, one I wish I’d thought of!

18 thoughts on “Gotcha!

  1. I’ve read about that sort of DNA testing for pet poop. I’m not sure if it’s been instituted around here, but there are plenty of people walking their dogs with plastic baggies in hand.

    One thing my apartment complex does is charge every resident a token monthly fee — I think it’s $2 — and then they hire an outside firm called “Pooper Scoopers” to make a run through the complex twice a week, just to make sure everything is clean. Even though I don’t have a dog, I don’t mind the $2 at all, and I appreciate the fact that the management is firm about their stance on pet-walking. If they catch you (ahem) violating standards, you get a demerit, and after three, you and your pet are invited to hit the road. It sounds tough, but that’s the rule, and everyone who moves in signs on the dotted line.

    • “Pooper Scoopers” sounds like a great idea, and honestly, $24 a year for the service doesn’t seem outrageous to me. As for your apartment’s pet policy, yes, I imagine it’s a good one. Pet deposit fees are high enough in many complexes to cover both interior AND exterior damages. Folks who can’t abide by the rules need to move on down the road. Picking up doggie-doo isn’t much fun, but it’s part of having a doggie!

  2. I stopped a guy with two retrievers who were off leash and asked how come he didn’t pick up the dog poop. (they both left a pile) His reply made further discussion impossible. He said, “Birds poop on the beach and no one picks it up.” I wish I knew where he lived. I would have a load of cow manure delivered to his driveway.

  3. Innovative. But this program takes a lot of cooperation and work. Collecting the saliva, collecting the poop and mailing to match to the poopetrator. And then there is a chance that it isn’t even a dog that lives on the property. Highrises rarely allow you to walk a dog on the grounds. And some suburbs have pet walking areas that most people avoid because even with pick up they smell. I’ve been told making garbage cans and poop bags accessible (lots of the dog parks have free pull out one’s) works great. I probably wouldn’t belong to a community that insisted on collecting dog saliva anymore than I would belong to a community that wouldn’t let me have a fence :-D. But I’m quick to hand out bags and firm smiles when I catch someone not picking up and wholeheartedly support poop pick-up.

    • Domer, not having a pet of his own, really wasn’t sure how the program works. He intimated apartments charge HIGH fees to pet owners, so I think some of that must be included in the initial testing. His previous apartment complex had doggie “stations” with free scooper bags and trashcans — seemed to work really well when Dallas and I visited. As with most everything else, a few miscreants can ruin things for those of us who try to do the right thing!

  4. Goodness! Sounds like that’d be a lot of expense! I wonder how often it actually catches the ‘perp’. Round here we have dog waste bins on the streetlamps, and most people seem to stick to it fairly well. (Haha – stick to the rules, I mean, not the bins!) But I wouldn’t feel in much position to complain since I’m a cat owner and they go where the fancy takes them, I’m afraid. Though my current two tend to prefer the inside litter trays to the outside bushes – wish I could pretend I was pleased about that! 😉

    • From what I read online, apartment managers are thrilled with the results (some cited a reduction of 90 percent in the unattended poop!) I rather like the idea of free bags and bins handy for everyone to use. Personally, I go to one of the dollar stores and get a big box of bags on the cheap — though toting the filled thing around with me until I get home is a nuisance! Pet cats, rabbits, and fish seem to have it easier when it comes to the bathroom!

  5. Incredible. It reminds me a bit of Switzerland. We must purchase special white bags and pay for every sack of garbage. Well, the authorities actually paid people to go through those green and black garbage bags to find out who was breaking the law.

    • You know, Pat, I guess the authorities have to devise ways to stay two steps ahead of the perpetrators. The same philosophy was at play with the dog poop. Too often, the offenders would blatantly lie and deny letting their pooches deposit waste without cleaning it up. Somebody saw an opportunity and jumped on it. I wish I’d had that foresight, ha!

  6. It is annoying when messes are left but I’m not sure if the offending owners would consent to having the DNA collected. In our neighborhood I’ve seen (more than once) the poop bagged and tied then left on the street. Apparently carrying it to a garbage can is too difficult 🙂

    • I’m not sure how they enforce it, Janna. I’d imagine apartment/condo dwellers are more apt to comply with the testing — if nothing else than to “prove” they’re an agreeable sort and won’t be offenders! Too bad the city doesn’t have “poop stations” where dog owners can drop off their filled bags!!

    • Spy-esque? Yeah, definitely. I think it’s a great idea. Nothing much nastier than stepping in some strange dog’s pile and knowing your sneakers are grooved so you’ll be cleaning them the rest of the day!

  7. Now to do this for people who pee in elevators or who spit on the ground, liter bottles and cups and more.

    Have they invented dog pooper picker uppers yet? What about doggy diapers?
    Dog DNA is a great idea! A little pricey resolution though.

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