Dog waste DNA - FOX 35 News Orlando

Dog waste DNA

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ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) -

Why do some people insist on not cleaning up after their dogs? In some communities, they've had enough with people like that. Just like on CSI, they're turning to DNA evidence to catch those who think its ok to leave a mess behind.      

When Jack does what, well, all dogs do -- it's Andrea's job to clean-up his poo. "About twice a day," counts Jack's owner Andrea Cox. "We pick up his poop in the morning and the sometimes afternoon depending on his schedule." 

Like clockwork, their path around Lake Lilly always means watching every step. 

"There's a lot of poop left everywhere, which I can't stand. It's really nasty, especially when the poops are almost as big as Jack!" Andrea laughs through her frustration with irresponsible dog owners. "We would like for it to be a little cleaner around here." 

That's a familiar refrain at Orlando's Park North condos. "One of the issues we were having here among some of the renters was people were letting their dogs go to the bathroom in the hallways and not cleaning up after it," Park North board member Peter Orsaeo told FOX 35. 

Park North's solution started with a swab of every canine cheek in the building. 

Now, if dogs like Rupert ever conduct "business" where they should not -- a company called Poo Prints has got their number -- the exact number of every resident dog's DNA. 

"Once we have swabbed the dog, we put a unique tag number on him," explains Simon Phillips of Poo Prints of Florida. "Everybody we talk to is fascinated by this because it's novel, and it is a solution to a problem everybody understands." 

Anytime a pet owner leaves their dog's droppings, the community can scoop it, take a sample, and ship it for analysis using DNA to link dog doo to its do-er. 

"I say it's the guilty dog. It's only the fair to say it's the guilty owner that didn't pick up after the dog," Simon adds. 

If you don't pick up your dog's dirty deed it will cost you. Some places charge fines up to $500 dollars -- money that helps cover the cost of the analysis. 

$60 dollars just for the DNA comparison means offending owners will be dropping hundreds for each offense. 

"City ordinances, county ordinances to clean-up after your pet… it's nothing new," points out Brigette Ross, property manager at Park North. "We're just encouraging [those ordinances] even further by offering a little bit of penalty if they don't [clean-up after their dogs]." 

Poo Prints is catching on. In just 12 months, hundreds of communities nationwide now participate in the company's program, including several dozen across Florida. 

Hollywood actor David Keith even took an interest in Poo Prints through his work with their parent company, BioPet Vet Lab. "Very few people know that dog waste is 20 percent of the microbial harmful pollution in our water table. Not animal waste, but dog waste," Keith tells FOX.  

As more and more communities sign-up for Poo Prints, dog owners are starting to get the point. "Honestly, I can see where they're coming from, because it is a big problem," says Andrea with her dog Jack. "And we deal with it all the time, both in the park and [at] the complex next door." 

An added benefit of registering dogs with Poo Prints is that, if a dog is lost, owners can track them via the DNA registry. 

Poo Prints is also working on technology to test cat poop too!

On the web: www.pooprints.com

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