Dog poo to be DNA tested in council plan to track down lazy owners

An east London council says it is poised to become the first in the UK to use DNA testing to track down owners who fail to clear up their dog's mess. Barking and Dagenham will unveil the extraordinary new measure at a dog fouling summit on Tuesday called “Leading a New Way”. Pet owners could also face fines of up to £80 if they fail to clear up their dog’s excrement, as part of the borough’s crack down. Under the plans, the dogs’ DNA would be collected by a cheek swab which is sent to a laboratory. The dog’s profile is then added to a central register, compiled by PooPrints UK. If an owner fails to pick up their dog’s mess, a DNA test will be taken from the offending faeces which can be traced back to a registered dog with 99.9 per cent accuracy. Under the plans, the dogs’ DNA would be collected by a cheek swab which is sent to a laboratory (Alamy) Similar systems already operating in the States have reduced dog fouling by up tp 90 per cent, according to Gary Downie, managing director of Streetkleen, the firm behind PooPrints DNA testing. Councillor Darren Rodwell, said: “We are the first Council in the country to get really tough on dog mess and pet owners who do not act in a socially responsible way. “The vast majority of dog owners in Barking and Dagenham are socially responsible but unfortunately a selfish few think it’s ok to not clean up after their pet. “Dog mess not only spoils our streets – it’s also a health hazard and especially to young children. It’s why we are using this innovative approach in making a cleaner, healthier and better Barking and Dagenham.” The town hall currently spends £2.3 million each year clearing up dog faeces and employs a dedicated dog warden to address canine-related issues. Guest speakers at the dog fouling summit will include the Kennel Club, Keep Britain Tidy and Streetkleen. The council hope to set up a pilot for forensic dog mess testing, and if successful, it will be rolled out across the borough from September 2016. They will discuss how this could be combined with the forthcoming requirement from April 2016 for all dogs to be microchipped. Previous methods employed by Keep Tidy Britain to crack down on dog’s mess have included glow in the dark posters in popular dog walking areas which "charge up" during the day and at night show illuminated human eyes and the words "Thoughtless dog owners – we're watching you!" Brunete, a town 20 miles west of Madrid, launched a campaign whereby they sent the offending deposits back to the owners in an official box marked 'Lost Property'.

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