We'd like a sample of your dog's DNA for poop purposes

It’s really annoying when people take their dogs out for a walk and don’t clean up after them, isn’t it? Being a dog owner/walker myself, I always make sure to bring a plastic bag along with me to clean up after Jake and I have pointed out to others that they should do likewise when I see someone being negligent. And yet, not everyone is so responsible, but what do we do about it? One apartment complex in Pennsylvania has come up with a rather unique solution. They’re building a DNA database of all the dogs that live there so they can send offending samples found on the grass out for analysis. (CBS Philadelphia)

A Delaware County apartment complex is going to extreme lengths to deal with residents who don’t clean up after their dogs. The Governor Sproul Apartments in Marple Township is swabbing dogs to get their DNA.

“They’re asking all of their pet owners to get DNA from their dogs,” said Rose Renzulli.

Governor Sproul management has grown tired of “party pooper tenants” not picking up after their four-legged friends. They even offer free bags and a friendly reminder to clean up.

“I didn’t realize we had a dog doo problem,” one resident said.

So how does your average apartment manager go about setting up a lab and building a doggy DNA database? She doesn’t. They have owners swab their dogs and send the sample out to a place called Poo Prints. (Yes, that’s a real service.) The company, which describes itself at their website as “a proven dog poop management service,” enters each dog’s DNA into the DNA World Pet Registry database.

Then, when anyone finds an unscooped “sample” on the apartment complex grounds, maintenance workers collect some of it and mail it off to Poo Prints, where it’s tested against the known database of registered dogs. If they get a match, the owner can be fined up to $250, along with being shamed by all their neighbors, no doubt.

My first question (of many) was how they could get everyone in compliance. If you’re someone who regularly lets your dog poop on the public square without cleaning it up, why would you submit a DNA sample? Turns out that the apartment complex is making compliance with the DNA swabbing part of their lease agreement.

You can see this sort of thing spiraling out of control quickly. Pretty soon all of the shelters and pet stores could be coerced into providing DNA samples of every dog they adopt or sell. Once the database is large enough, they’d have a record of a majority of pets along with where they live sooner or later. I know the police would dearly love to have a complete database of every human being in the country, but you pesky privacy advocates seem to be opposed to that. The dogs don’t have any lawyers (or constitutional rights for that matter), however, so this could really happen.

Orwellian or just good property management? You be the judge.