Sunday, July 3, 2011
Science never stands still and a new type of CSI , which could stand for Canine Sh*t Identification , is using state-of-the-art technology to track down miscreant mutts leaving unwanted calling cards in apartment buildings.. Defecating dogs will be tracked down by doodoo DNA analysis for further action. However some apartment managers understandably have drawn the line at "collecting dog poop samples along with the rent checks".
Canine DNA is now being used to identify the culprits who fail to clean up after their pets, an offense that Deborah Violette, for one, is committed to eradicating at the apartment complex she manages.
Everyone who owns a dog in her complex, Timberwood Commons in Lebanon, N.H., must submit a sample of its DNA, taken by rubbing a cotton swab around inside the animal’s mouth.
The swab is sent to BioPet Vet Lab, a Knoxville, Tenn., company that enters it into a worldwide database. If Ms. Violette finds an unscooped pile, she can take a sample, mail it to Knoxville and use a DNA match to identify the offending owner.
Called PooPrints, the system costs $29.99 for the swabbing kit, $10 for a vial to hold the samples and $50 to analyze them, which usually takes a week or two. The company says that about two dozen apartment complexes around the country have signed up for the service. In 2008, the Israeli city of Petah Tikva created a dog DNA database for the same purpose.
“It’s kind of like the F.B.I., but on a much smaller scale,” said Eric Mayer, director of franchise development for BioPet Vet Lab, which makes the kits.
Ms. Violette said that at her complex, which opened in December and has a designated building for pet owners, unwanted surprises have sometimes been found on lawns.
“We had a little bit of a problem,” Ms. Violette said. “Enough that I wanted to try to nip it in the bud.”
Dog owners were notified about the testing last week, and most are now taking their pets in to provide DNA samples. But not everyone.
“I’ve had some people say it’s completely over the top and ridiculous,” Ms. Violette said. “I’m sure I’ll have a few people who won’t come in, and I’m sure those are the people we’ll have to chase and those are the people who are doing it.”
Tom Boyd, the founder and chief executive of BioPet Vet Lab, said the company made the kits in response to the large of numbers of the dogs in the United States and to health concerns connected to dog feces. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, there are about 75 million dogs in the United States.
“If you took 75 million Americans and said they no longer have a commode, can you imagine what would happen in a week?” Mr. Boyd asked.