A New Hampshire man is trying to end the scourge of dog owners leaving behind their dog’s waste–and he thinks technology is the answer. Jon Kelly, a high school English teacher, is proposing that cities use DNA testing to fine and discourage negligent dog owners.

“I’m not a dog poop martyr,” Kelly said to the Concord Monitor. “It’s the same all over…I do think there’s a sense of community frustration.”

Most cities and municipalities require dogs to be registered with the local government. This is to help ensure dogs are receiving rabies vaccines and to help return lost dogs. Kelly is proposing that when dogs are registered a DNA cheek swab is taken and kept on record with the government.

Most areas also require dog owners to pick up their animals’ waste from public property and prohibit owners from allowing their dogs to relieve themselves on private property. However, such laws are rarely enforced.

In Concord, N.H., where Kelly resides, no one has been cited for violating the animal waste ordinance in the past year. Kelly argues that left-behind dog waste is not only a nuisance, but also an issue of public safety.

“It’s easy from a distance to say, ‘That’s not a big deal. Hey, lighten up,’ but it is a big deal if you’re living next door to it and it’s all the time,” said Concord Police Lt. Tim O’Malley. “I don’t want to make dog poop this major issue, but if you are the person dealing with this on a chronic basis, it does become a headache.”

Kelly’s proposal isn’t all that far-fetched. In fact, apartment complexes are already using it to curb waste issues on their property.

Companies such as PooPrints, a Tennessee-based company, keep a database of dogs’ DNA and test droppings. Basically, complexes that use the service can charge pet owners a one-time fee to cover the DNA cataloguing fee, as well as offset any dropping tests that have to be conducted. Then, if the pet’s feces are found on the property, the building can assess fees to discourage the behavior.

Cities that want to implement the program could just lump the DNA testing fee into whatever existing pet registration fee they have.

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs