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Dog-Poop DNA Tests That Catch Scofflaws: How’s That Smell?

Apartment buildings levy stiff fines for unscooped poop, which is sampled and analyzed.

Michael Leaverton  |  Aug 24th 2012

The days of letting your dog poop on the azaleas, carefully looking around, confirming you are not being observed, and walking away from that pile of steaming waste whistling like a madman, well, those days are behind you — at least if you live in a growing number of apartment complexes whose building managers are getting on hands and knees in front of the offending piles and carving off samples for DNA testing.

I remember when my building manager used to just pound on my door for the rent.

The samples are then sent (through the mail! Poop through the mail!) to high-tech DNA labs, which I imagine are exactly like those labs on any of the CSIs, so the DNA of the poop can be crosschecked with the DNA of the dogs who live at the apartment.

If the lab finds a match, residents get presented with a bill. At Hollywood Station in Hollywood, Fla., according to CBS Miami, that bill is $150 for the first offense. “If nothing else, it’s going to change behavior,” said property manager Tiffany Acosta. “I don’t want to fine everybody, but I have to make somebody accountable.”

“It’s human nature, unfortunately,” Acosta said. “It’s not the dog’s problem. It’s irresponsible pet owners.”

Granted, the new science has taken some adjusting to. “We saw a notice in the elevator last week that we had to bring our dogs to be DNA tested so that they could find their poop,” resident Kayla O’Brien said.

And it’s happening everywhere. Poo Prints, a DNA for doo-doo in Knoxville, Tenn., counts hundreds of residential properties in 30 states and two other countries as clients, according to the Nashville Ledger.

So, how does the new poop science work? “Customers who hire Poo Prints have all pet owners register their animals by swabbing their pets’ cheeks and dropping them off to property management offices,” reports the Ledger.

“We can perform an exact DNA matchup with the pets in our database,” Eric Mayer, Poo Prints’ director of business development, told USA Today. “The results won’t come back as showing a Beagle left the pile of waste. It will be the Beagle in Apartment 3A left the waste.”

Typically, dog owners pay for the dog’s initial DNA testing, which costs around $30. Some residents think that policy has a funny smell. “To have to pay ourselves to have our dogs tested? We already have to pay to have them live here, so to have to pay some more to have their DNA tested was kind of crazy to us,” Sena Peterson told KDLT News in Sioux Falls.

This lies in stark contrast to the other no-poop effort that is currently gaining steam across the nation. “There Is No Poop Fairy” education campaigns have popped up in Colorado, Idaho, Virginia, and East Harlem, according to, relying on — gasp! — our inner sense of right and wrong behavior. Morals, if you will, concerning poop. Of course, if people’s morals always operated correctly, we wouldn’t need DNA testing of poop.

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