Wednesday 25 April 2018

Barking mad? Proposals to carry out DNA tests on dog poo to catch owners who don't scoop

dog poo
dog poo

Jane O'Faherty

Proposals to carry out DNA tests on dog poo to catch owners who don’t scoop up are barking mad, according to Dubliners.

Councillors in Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s home town of Castlebar, Co Mayo, suggested testing dog waste left in public spaces to identify dogs and their owners who fail to clean up.

The measure would involve collecting DNA from all dogs in one area to compile a database. DNA from pavement poo would then be compared to the database to find a match.

Experts say DNA profiling of individual dogs and subsequent testing could prove expensive to local authorities and owners.

Vet Pete Wedderburn said the idea works in theory but there would be a significant cost to either local authorities or owners.

“You have to collect the DNA from every dog in the area, and it costs €30 or €40 to get a DNA profile done for a dog. If you have 200 dogs in the area, that’s a huge cost,” he said.

Mr Wedderburn also pointed to problems of enforcing DNA testing, saying there would be difficulties in encouraging people to pay for their dog to be tested. The idea also doesn’t seem to wash with city dwellers, who feel the measure could prove costly for canine owners.

Lauren Dunne (19), from Clarehall, said she couldn’t understand how local authorities would convince owners to hand over DNA samples of their dogs.

“I can’t see how people are going to let you stick needles into their dog or something,” she told the Herald.

“Would they not just give funds to the homeless?”

Kim Larkin (49), from Swords, says she “can’t imagine that happening”.

“Who’s going to fund it? Who’s going to pay?” she asked.

Kim believes that local authorities should put extra resources into providing more bins and bags for owners.

“I live in Swords and I bring my dog to Howth a lot,” she said.

“There aren’t enough bins in those areas. People do not want to be walking around with bags of poo,” she added.

Michael Spain (21), from the Sherriff Street area, said the idea was “just madness”.

“Why would you want to do DNA tests on dogs? There’s other things to worry about,” he said.


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