Abbot Mill condo complex in Westford is using DNA technology as a means to crack down on owners who don't clean up after their dogs.
The residence is home to about 30 dogs, and joins the increasing number of housing developments across the state and country employing the same technology used in crime-scene investigations and paternity tests as a tool to enforce dog waste-scooping policies that property managers say are violated with impunity. Next
Christine Smolin and 'Chuck' walked along the grounds of Abbot Mill.
Dog owners like Smolin submit a DNA sample, obtained by a quick swab inside the animal’s cheek, when they move into the community. The results are kept on file and then checked against DNA from waste left on the grounds. If there’s a match, the owner pays for the $50 lab test on the waste and gets a $100 fine. Owners who rack up multiple violations can be forced to remove the dog.
The testing is administered by PooPrints. Next
Three doggie stations are available for owners to deposit canine waste.
“We’ve had too many complaints from our residents and we really had to do something,” said board member Diane Murad, who has lived in the 50-unit complex for more than 25 years. “At one point, the mail man even threatened to stop delivering mail. We know who’s doing it, but we haven’t been able to prove it.” Next
Erika Kauffeld, right, and “Midge” stopped to chat with dog walker, Mary McConnell.
PooPrints spokesman Eric Mayer said many residential communities are struggling to provide a welcoming environment to pet owners while dealing with a few irresponsible owners who turn shared community space into a biohazard site, “endangering the health and safety of the neighborhood.” Next
Barbara Kansky, manager of Devon Wood Condominiums in Braintree, took a DNA sample from her 6 year old shitsu Justine.
Dog DNA testing is the latest local approach for dealing with errant dog waste. Devon Wood now requires residents' dogs to be swabbed and their DNA entered in a data base, which is cross-checked with DNA found in poop left on the grounds. Next
Justine looks on as Kansky prepares to take a DNA sample.
The results are kept on file and then checked against DNA found in waste picked up on the grounds. If there’s a match, the dog’s owner pays for the $50 lab test and gets a $100 fine. Next
Testing dog waste for DNA – and marketing the idea to condos, apartments, gated communities, and municipalities — was the brainstorm of BioPet Vet Lab in Knoxville, Tenn., the parent company of PooPrints.
The company now operates in 38 states. Next
Repton Place, home to about 25 dogs, instituted DNA testing on June 1.
“People stepped in it, they walked in it; it was disgusting,” said site manager Matthew Harris. “Now, there’s no pet waste at all since we introduced the pet DNA. It’s a vast, vast improvement.” Next
A jar from the PooPrints waste sample collection kit.
Harris said he has not seen poop left on the property since the DNA program was started. At Devon Wood, just four piles of poo have been removed since July 1. Next
The PooPrints waste sample collection kit.
The company has a patent pending on its procedure. Next
Resident Danielle Sobotka walks her dogs Bentley (black dog) and Hudson (tan dog) around the Repton Place grounds.
“Not to gross you out, but the average dog puts down 274 pounds of waste every year,” Mayer said. “With close to 80 million dogs in the US, when you do the math it’s about 21 billion pounds of waste being put down on the ground. And up to 40 percent is staying there and not being scooped up.” Next
Resident Kristin Thompson picks up her dog Keiki's poop on a walk around the Repton Place grounds.
“The fine can be a pretty good deterrent for most people,” Mayer said. Next
A pet waste station on the grounds of Devon Wood Condominiums in Braintree.
“Our residents are very happy,” Kansky said. “The difference is just remarkable.” Back to the beginning
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