Don’t scoop after your pooch poops? Doggie DNA will get you
The same technology used to catch criminals can track down dog owners guilty of laziness.Photo: Video by kgun9.com
CREATED Apr. 26, 2012
Reporter: Kevin Keen
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - You see it and smell it along sidewalks, on trails and in your favorite park. It is dog poop and the worst part is when you notice you just stepped in it. Now, a 21st century solution to the long-time problem of owners who don't pick up after their pooches. The same technology used to catch criminals can track down dog owners guilty of laziness.
After your pooch poops, you scoop it up. Right?
“Oh, yeah. Every time,” Glen Kurz, owner of Jagger, told 9 On Your Side. “I've got two bags right here and I carry a scooper around when we're at home. They won't ever find his on the ground. In the dumpster--that's where we put it.”
9 On Your Side reporter Kevin Keen asked Jean Young, “Are there owners out there who don't clean up after their dogs?” “Yes,” the owner of Scooby Do and Peek-A-Boo answered. “It’s very irritating.”
“It's part of owning a dog,” added Lee Marcucci, who owns Buddy. “You have to pick up after them.”
“Are most dog owners responsible in that respect?” Keen asked Kathy Lillibridge, Cody’s owner. “I like to think so, but--” Keen finished her sentence, “--but there sure is a lot of poop around here.” Lillibridge agreed, “There is a lot.”
Now, a high-tech and eco-friendly solution to put inattentive owners in deep doo-doo. It's called PooPrints and it could spread to a neighborhood near you. The company works with an apartment building, homeowners association or private dog park to collect the DNA of every canine that goes there.
How do you take a dog's DNA? By swabbing its cheek. PooPrints then creates a DNA profile for every doggie.
Later, when an owner doesn't pick up, a sample of the poop is sent to a lab in a leak-proof container.
“It only takes a little tiney bit so it's very clean, very quick, very easy to collect,” said Eric Mayer, business development director at BioPet Vet Lab, which owns PooPrints. “They mail it to our lab and we take care of the rest.”
Tests reveal the canine culprit. How the owner's punished is up to the apartment building or association. It could be a fine or just a scolding. The terms would be made clear to owners beforehand and could be printed in a lease, for example.
So, are owners wagging their tails at the idea?
“I'm all for it,” Kurz said. “I would let them test my dog.”
“You hate to see it go that far,” said Charles Lillibridge, married to Kathy. “It probably would curtail some of that behavior.”
“I think it sounds like a waste of time, really,” Young said. “People just have to be more responsible.”
“It's a little elaborate,” Marcucci said. “Sounds like for the cost of that, they could just have the poop picked up.”
How much does it cost? There's a flat fee to get started: 30 bucks a pup. The kit to send in a sample is $10 and it's $50 to process. But PooPrints says clients are already paying up to deal with this problem.
“They'll take a look at their current costs that they have for things like their maintenance staff, things like landscaping and repairs to the carpet. Stuff like that,” Mayer said in a video chat. “And actually what they're finding is they're saving a lot of money by switching the PooPrints program.”
“The majority of the properties that use PooPrints right now--they don't even send it waste samples because the property becomes clean within just a couple of weeks of having the program in place,” Mayer added.
There aren't any two-legged clients in Southern Arizona yet. Would groups consider it? 9 On Your Side asked Bob Ritcher, president of the Midvale Park Homeowners Association, which represents 4,000 Tucson homes.
“If the idea would be that the association would be pay $30 for every dog in Midvale, which could easily be well more than 4,000 with the number of households even though every household doesn't have a dog,” Ritcher said. “I would say it's not reasonable or an expectation that the association would be anywhere near willing to do that.” He added the association would still consider it if presented a proposal.
PooPrints or not, Southern Arizona will have to continue hoping dogs owners do their duty.
“I just try not to step in it,” said Matt Morris, whose dog’s name is Morris.
PooPrints plans to open an office in Phoenix in June.