The concept of using dog poop DNA to better manage dog ownership is not a new one. The Edinburgh model/proposal is based upon an experimental one launched this year in southern France, in the town of Béziers. Citizens are required, in that French town, to carry their pet’s genetic passport in order to prove that DNA has been extracted when questioned.
The idea of testing dog poop DNA is also not new to America where you will find the scheme in some private residential estates. That’s where they are particularly concerned about dog poop not being picked up from the pavement and environs.
Now we have this DNA dog poop tracking model being introduced to the city of Edinburgh in Scotland. The scheme starts by dog owners registering their dogs with the council. As I understand it, DNA samples are taken from the dog which are kept on a database.
If a dog owner, taking a dog for a walk, fails to pick up their dog poop, council workers can pick it up for them but they will carry out a DNA test on it and then be able to match the results from that test with the DNA database and thereby identify the dog’s owner who has failed to carry out their duties towards other citizens and residents of Edinburgh.
The underlying purpose is to improve dog ownership and catch the miscreants!
Edinburgh’s administrators are carrying out tests to see whether the DNA dog poop scheme can work in practice. The environment committee called on officials to investigate “the practicalities of establishing a dog DNA register, how it could be enforced, likely costs to set up and run and how much might be funded through insurance or fines”.
The scheme is meant to tackle the minority of dog owners who annoy the majority of dog owners who pick up their dog’s poop. Edinburgh wants to crackdown on the irresponsible ones.
The city also plans to employ dog wardens to track dog walkers who habitually take the same route each day. When they get a report of dog poop not being picked up they can then track the dog walker and find out who they are.
In Scotland, dog owners are responsible, under the law, for picking up dog poop under the Dog Fouling (Scotland) Act 2003. Failing to do so can lead to a fixed penalty notice of £80. The evidence requirement is undemanding in that only one valid report of dog fouling is required to convict.
The Times reports that over the past three years there have been on average 1288 reports of breaches of this legislation. Four fixed penalty notices have been issued in 2021.
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