The Latest Trend In Property Management: DNA Testing Dog Poop To Punish Lazy Owners

The managers of the River Park Place apartment complex in Louisville, Kentucky got a different kind of Christmas present this year: dog poop. Lots of it. Fifteen piles over the holiday weekend alone, according to one estimate, all left on the grounds and inside the facility by tenants who were either too lazy to clean up their dog’s business outside, or too doubly lazy to clean up the mess they allowed the dogs to make in the hallways and stairwells. The problem always gets worse in the winter, too, as people don’t want to leave the warmth of their poop-free apartments. It’s an epidemic, really. But short of catching them in the act of fleeing the scene, what can possibly be done to prevent it?

Enter PooPrints, a service that does DNA tests on dog poop to identify and punish the guilty party. This is happening, people. We’re DNA testing dog poop. Welcome to the future.

PooPrints, a self-described “dog poop DNA matching service,” is the most successful product of BioPet Vet Lab in Knoxville, which specializes in canine genetic testing. Launched in late 2010, the company has on record the DNA of more than 30,000 dogs from Canada and 45 states, including Maryland and Virginia, and recently signed a deal to launch in Great Britain.

Chesleigh Winfree, along with two scientists who have since left the company, developed a process for swabbing dogs’ mouths for a DNA sample. The profiles are stored in a company database. Marble-sized specimens of offending waste are mailed to the company in bottles containing a stabilizer, then checked against the property’s registry, consistently yielding “highly viable” matches. [Washington Post]

Best things about this story:

  • The violators — the owners, not the dogs, although that would make this a much funnier story — are charged for the $75-100 cost of the test and then fined on top of that, but once the testing is announced the number of renegade poops usually decreases significantly. Only you can prevent forest fires, but it turns out only the threat of public humiliation and a monetary punishment can prevent people from leaving dog crap next to the vending machines.
  • The person who invented the process to DNA test dogs is named Chesleigh Winfree.
  • The very first sentence of the About section of the PooPrints website is “One of the first questions we get asked is, ‘How did you ever come up with the idea to DNA test dog poop?'” First things first, I always say.
  • PooPrints mascot should be a crown-wearing cartoon dog named “The Poo Prince.”
  • Now I desperately want a CSI spinoff about a Melrose Place-y apartment building where the sexy duplicitous residents refuse to clean up after their pets and a team of sexy forensics experts are brought in to test samples BUT some of them are corrupt and end up sleeping with the offending residents and framing innocent parties for the poo crimes. CSI: Feces House, coming next fall to CBS.
  • The local news report I linked to in the first paragraph opens with one of the anchors calling the guilty parties “poo-petrators.” Nailed that one so hard, you guys. So hard.

We are leaning so much today.