NEWS AND COMMENT-TEL AVIV: Tel Aviv-Jaffa City Council have taken a bold step in improving the standards of dog ownership. They say that as much as half a ton of dog poo is deposited on the streets of Tel Aviv every month. It is cleared up by the city council. They do lots of things to try and improve standards of dog ownership in a city where one in 11 residents have a dog.
They hand out tickets to dog owners who allow their dogs to poo on the streets, they place bag collection facilities in gardens and in parks but they’re going to do more which is to make it mandatory for dog owners to register their pets to a DNA database when the time comes to renew their dog licence or when dog adopters apply for a licence.
There will be a DNA database profiling all the dogs in Tel Aviv. When dog poo is deposited on the street and the owner does not pick it up the council will. They will do a DNA analysis of the dog poo and match it up to the registered DNA profile on their database. This will allow them to identify the owner. The owner will be punished! The punishment will be a fine of 720 shekels (£160) through the post together with the costs of the testing process.
It’s a sort of Big Brother situation and if there is one downside to this it is about privacy. The concept of privacy is a big issue nowadays and some residents consider this to be an invasion of it. It’s a balancing act between protecting an individual’s rights and improving dog ownership standards. Some people would rather accept dog poo on streets than give up more personal information to the authorities.
The proposed local law will have to be okayed by the Interior Ministry before it can come into effect.
Comment: I, for one, am all in favour of using the law to improve standards of companion dog and cat ownership. There’s a hard core of individuals who resist attempts to improve their standards of animal guardianship. In the interests of animal welfare there needs to be improvements and I believe you have to resort to the law to achieve this. Federal and local laws can change attitudes and habits for good. You arrive at new habits and a new culture in respect of the human-to-animal relationship which is all grist to the mill of improvements in animal welfare.