Property Managers Use PooPrints to Get Pet Owners to Clean Up after Their Dogs
- Oct 18, 2010
Knoxville, Tenn.–What can property managers do when dog owners don’t pick up after their dogs? Under normal circumstances, not much, because there is no way of knowing who the violators might be. But now, with a new program called PooPrints that uses DNA to identify the dog in question, managers can catch the culprit (dog owner) in a matter of days.
PooPrints is a dog DNA identification program from BioPet Vet Lab built on a scientific foundation, providing communities with a means to enforce community regulations for pet waste clean-up. “The problem of pet owners not picking up after their pets is tearing apart communities,” says BioPet Vet Lab CEO Tom Boyd. Consumer Reports lists ‘dog poop’ as one of the nation’s top ten personal gripes. So BioPet Vet Lab used its research in animal DNA identification systems to help provide community leaders with a tool to bring peace back to the neighborhood.
BioPet Lab recognized this as a big problem. In the United States alone, 73 million dogs generate approximately 6.3 billion pounds of waste annually. Approximately 40 percent, or 2.5 billion pounds, is never picked up by owners, according to the company. Apart from the aesthetic issue, dog feces creates a lot of nuisance. It is a bacterial breeding ground of diseases that are especially dangerous to children and others with weakened immune systems. Toxocara canis, a roundworm found in dog waste, is especially dangerous to children and can cause blindness. In the past decade, E. coli bacteria from dog droppings have been identified as significant sources of pollution in rivers, parks and regional watersheds.
Debbie Logan, a property manager at Twin Ponds Development in Nashua, N.H., which has been using PooPrints, says, “Even though we provide pet stations and dog playgrounds, we quickly learned that a small percentage of our residents were not cleaning up after their pets. As an extremely popular community with pet lovers, a small percentage of violators could quickly ruin it for the responsible residents.”
To participate in the program, communities make it mandatory for pet owners to register their pets in the PooPrints DNA database. Offending waste left unpicked up is collected and analyzed. When a DNA match is discovered, the community has the evidence needed to warn or fine the pet owner. Within the first four samples tested, two violators were quickly identified at Twin Ponds. According to Logan, “The program is just fantastic for us. It was easy to implement and everybody wins. We are spending less time looking for violators, and residents have a clean, healthy community.”
Jim Simpson, president of BioPet Lab, tells MHN, “Once someone chooses to enroll the property in the program, we provide kits for $30 per dog to the property. They collect a cheek swab of any dog associated with the property and mail it to us. Once the dogs’ DNA are on file, if there is a violator, they mail a small sample of the feces and then we look for a match based on the DNA base we have.” For testing of each sample, it costs the property manager another $50.
Currently, three properties are using this program. “We haven’t pushed this product as much as we had hoped, but in 2011, we plan to attend conferences and shows and expand tremendously,” says Simpson.