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DNA tests catch bad dog owners who leave poop behind

You're walking down the sidewalk, minding your own business and, squish! You step into a stinky pile that a responsible dog owner would have stooped and scooped. You look around, while scraping your shoe on the curb. If only you could find the culprit you'd give them a piece of your mind.

A New Hampshire apartment complex has taken matters into its own hands after too many errant dog poops, mandating that residents submit pet DNA samples, according to CNN. Then, if any of them fail to scoop, bingo! The DNA doesn't lie.

Property manager Debbie Violette told CNN her violators will first receive a warning if caught, paying a $60 fee to cover the DNA costs. However, if it happens again, it's a lease violation and the offender will be forced to live somewhere else, reports CNN. "They have a choice to rent here or not. If you live in that community you have to live by those rules and regulations," Violette said. "It's a privilege."

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By the looks of it, having Fluffy's mouth swabbed and knowing her DNA is in the system, might be deterrent enough. The complex is just one of many using the services of a company called PooPrints, a subsidiary of BioPet Vet Lab in Knoxville, Tennessee.

While CSI-style DNA testing may seem a little harsh, it's a tactic that may resonate with anyone who has encountered forgotten feces. Which is, well, just about everyone. And, frankly, given the lengths many go to in order to get the message out - the blogs, the community advocacy, the confrontations in the park - a technological quick fix might seem like a good, energy-saving idea.

California blogger Brenda McFarlane, who calls herself "a dog owning activist for picking up dog poop," wrote an item Monday about one of her area beaches and its dog poop problem. She says it's clearly a cause of Ocean Beach's spotty health record and urges pet owners using the beach's "Dog Beach" to smarten up.

She writes that some argue that dog feces can't be blamed for the water pollution and they blame other sources like sewage leaks, up-river livestock , pelicans and seals.

Her retort: "Of the streams and waterways that have undergone expensive DNA testing in the United States, scientists found that 20% to 30% of the pollution came from dog excrement. Furthermore, the often quoted Dr. Van Der Wel in Australia found that a single gram of dog waste can contain 23 million fecal coliform bacteria which suggests that leaving a single dog pile on the beach is unacceptable. Finally, there is the convincing, albeit circumstantial, evidence that before San Diego's $10,000 dog scooping initiative in 2001, Dog Beach was closed 125 times to swimmers."

The PooPrints website estimates a single pet creates 276 pounds of waste per year, reports CNN.

How big a menace do you think non-scooping dog owners are? Does the environmental argument strengthen the case for better dog walk manners?

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