Dog Owners Refusing DNA Tests to Control Poop Are Bad Neighbors

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dog poop
dog poop
I love dogs but I hate their poop. My sister does dog rescue and always has 4-5 wonderful big dogs in her house at any given time, and I have a mildly traumatic memory of an afternoon in her backyard with her then-toddler and three pooper-scoopers, getting the yard spring-ready after a particularly cold winter.
 
Other dog owners are not so great. Which is why a condo in Florida has taken a particularly strict measure: Everyone with a dog has to pony up $200 and submit their dog’s DNA. They’re going to DNA test any poop they find, from now on.
 
It’s not such a crazy policy, but this episode of CSI: Dog Doo might open up a can of giardia (that’s a kind of worms). And the dog owners have quite a lot to say on the subject, as you might imagine...

But first, let me tell my grossest not-cleaned-up-dog-poop story: I keep a double stroller in the back of my car, and was taking my toddler and newborn to a class at a rec center one morning. I took out the stroller, unfolded it, loaded it with babies, and promptly rolled it right through a pile of brown poop. I almost horked. It was so fresh, so smelly, so … near my babies, and so hard to clean up! “Thank you so much, dog owners of the Castro,” I Tweeted. “I get the message and am going home.”
 
So, you know, if I were paying to live in a pleasant condo, and I found that the condo association was paying $10,000 to $12,000 a year to clean up dog poop, I would gladly pay $200 to eliminate the problem.

So far, the condo association hasn't reported any huge uprisings, but it seems the local community in Tampa is in disagreement over whether this is a good policy or not. "I would not give up my dog's DNA," said one commenter on a Tampa news site. "That way, you can test all you want, and my dog is in the clear." Sounds like an admission of guilt, doesn't it? Other commenters accuse condo associations like this of alternately being "communists," "fascists," and "Nazis," which at least proves that they don't know what any of those words mean.

"Look," says one, who seems reasonable until you see that his screen-name is Howitzer Breath," "you should clean up after your dog, but this is over-invasive. What next, they'll DNA test your kids in case one of them leaves a Lego around?" Uh... not unless the Lego is made of genetic material, but you knew that.

On the other hand, non-dog-owners have a different view, as you might imagine. "YOU wanted a dog, so YOU clean up after it," says one. "If you can afford to own and feed a dog, you can afford to have it tested," says another. "I live in this village, and it's disgusting!" says a third. "I'd hate to see these condo owners' apartments on the inside -- you disgusting, barn-raised imbeciles!" So basically, dog owners are up at arms (and paws) at the idea of this terrible invasion of privacy, and crap-steppers are all for a rule that pinpoints exactly whose pups are pooping.

But would this rule fix things?

  • What if the poop didn’t come up with a match? How do you know someone outside the condo isn’t walking dogs there?
  • What if the poop isn’t from a dog? Do you really want to know you live near a phantom pooper?
  • What do you do about the fact that someone who is willing to collect and test dog poop is given free reign to roam your grounds? I’m picturing a Caddyshack-era Bill Murray crossed with the moth expert from Silence of the Lambs.

Mostly, though, I have to ask: What is wrong with people, that they can’t just pick up the poop like everyone in New York and San Francisco does? (Oh, well, apparently not everyone – I snapped the picture accompanying this article a block from my house.) I’d say this condo association might do better by distributing compostable pet-poop bags and cute pooper scooper. A cheaper solution, probably just as likely to work, and empowers everyone rather than taking a finger-wagging approach. Or they could just use it to power their lamps.
 
Now, that’s an idea with legs! That’s an idea that’ll go fur! That solution will sit and stay! Oh, never mind.
 
Would you let a condo association DNA-test your dog?
  

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