Bylaw officials will begin using a new $1-million DNA analyzer to track down pet owners who fail to scoop their dog’s poop.
Owners will be required to provide a sample of their furry friend’s stool when applying for an annual licence this year to create a doggie doo-doo DNA database, which will be used to match feces left in parks and playgrounds back to individual dogs.
Bins will be set up at parks around the city where people can put scat they find left behind by thoughtless owners.
Simply toss the sample into a plastic bag, mark the date and time and place it in a bin, then city officials will collect and test them once a week.
Fines will be sent to offending owners by mail, with a first offence costing $500.
It’s hoped the $1-million cost of the machine will be paid off in less than a year.
If the dog program is successful, the city will look at expanding it to cats.
Veterinarian Dr. Hans Schulz, an expert in animal genetics, predicted the program will result in a “significant” drop in the amount of abandoned poop in the city.
“It’s a very simple process that has been used for many years in forensic criminology and it’s very similar to a fingerprint databank,” he said.
“I’d say it’s bang-on accurate.
“In a laboratory, you use computers, and the computers generate a DNA chart, which very clearly shows which dog left the poop on the pavement.”
But another genetics expert, Dr. Jack Russell, questioned how successful the program will be.
“Quite frankly, this whole scheme stinks to high heaven,” he said.
“The DNA-to-fecal matter ratio can be off the charts depending on what the animal is fed.
“The wrong dog could easily be collared by a science still in its infancy.”
After years of cleaning up behind his dog Snoopy while out on walks, David Stockdale said he’s glad the city is taking steps to punish those who don’t.
“It’s a great idea because who hasn’t stepped in some doggie doo-doo and dragged it into the house and the car and spent the whole afternoon cleaning it all up,” he said. “It’s not pleasant.”