Better clean that up. Flickr/Amy

One city borough wants to use DNA testing to sniff out owners who don't scoop their pets' poop.

Coming in contact with dog poop can be, shockingly, pretty bad for you. Canine fecal matter—that's what it's called in polite company—can carry a variety of nasties that can make humans (and particularly children) very sick. On a more visceral level, is there anything worse about city living than stepping in a soft bed of fresh dog crap?

Luckily, a London borough may have figured out a way to use science to ensure you'll never lose a perfectly good shoe to a glob of puppy waste again. The borough of Barking and Dagenham (yes, this is its real name) has announced that it will partner with the U.S.-based company BioPet Vet Lab for a pilot project that requires all local doggy park users to submit DNA cheek swabs from their furry friends. According to the BBC, wardens will then patrol the borough's open spaces and "test any rogue mess." If the abandoned dog poop matches your dog's DNA pooprint? That's an automatic fine: £80, or $120 in U.S. dollars.

In its pilot stage, only one or two local dog parks will be involved in the DNA testing, according to Eric Mayer, head of business development for Biopet Vet Lab. Anyone who wants to use those facilities will have to submit a canine swab, which cost about $45. (The fee will probably be split between the owner, the borough and the lab.) But by 2016, all 27 of the borough's parks and open spaces could be patrolled.

This idea isn't a totally new one: BioPet Vet Lab has been offering their services since 2010. But this is among the first uses of the technology on a municipal level. (Indiana's Carmel Clay Parks and Recreation Department recently announced that it may also start using BioPet's services.) If it all sounds a little too Minority Report, consider the plight of one Seattle apartment complex that was virtually forced to start using the poo-testing service this year. From the Seattle Times:

“There was poop inside the elevators, in the carpeted hallways, up on the roof,” says Erin Atkinson, property manager at Potala Village Apartments, a 108-unit complex in downtown Everett.

In the elevator?

“They’re lazy, I guess,” says Atkinson about the dog owners. “I don’t know why.”

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. An illustration of a private train.
    Transportation

    Let’s Buy a Train

    If you dream of roaming the U.S. in a your own personal train car, you still can. But Amtrak cuts have railcar owners wondering if their days are numbered.

  2. Equity

    How Poor Americans Get Exploited by Their Landlords

    American landlords derive more profit from renters in low-income neighborhoods, researchers Matthew Desmond and Nathan Wilmers find.

  3. A photo of the interior of a WeWork co-working office.
    Design

    WeWork Wants to Build the ‘Future of Cities.’ What Does That Mean?

    The co-working startup is hatching plans to deploy data to reimagine urban problems. In the past, it has profiled neighborhoods based on class indicators.

  4. A photo of San Antonio's Latino High Line
    Equity

    A 'Latino High Line' Promises Change for San Antonio

    The San Pedro Creek Culture Park stands to be a transformative project for nearby neighborhoods. To fight displacement, the city is creating a risk mitigation fund.

  5. Transportation

    China's 50-Lane Traffic Jam Is Every Commuter's Worst Nightmare

    What happens when a checkpoint merges 50 lanes down to 20.