London Council Will DNA Test Dog Poop To Track Lazy Owners


Tom Hale

Tom is a writer in London with a Master's degree in Journalism whose editorial work covers anything from health and the environment to technology and archaeology.

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813 London Council Will DNA Test Dog Poop To Track Lazy Owners
Christmas Junkie/Flickr. (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Boroughs in London are beginning a pilot scheme to test the DNA of dog poop to try to catch lazy owners who don’t pick it up, in what sounds like a comedy spin-off of George Orwell's "1984." And no, it definitely isn't April Fools' Day.

The 3-month test scheme will kick off in the appropriately named London Borough of Barking and Dagenham. Rangers in local parks will pick up the dog mess, then scientists will compare the sample to DNA on their database. If the database finds a match, the council will first send a written warning, followed by a £150 ($212) fine if the dog owner is a repeat poop-offender.


So far, signing your dog up to the DNA database is voluntary, but the council plans to introduce a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO), which legally requires owners to submit their pooches' genetic material/poop. The DNA testing is being conducted by the company PooPrints – who are giving away DNA registrations for free to the first 1,000 volunteers.

Darren Rodwell, Councillor for Barking and Dagenham Council, said in a statement: “This pilot scheme will be the first of its type in the U.K. It’s about asking considerate dog owners to register their pet’s DNA so we can wipe out dog mess in Barking and Dagenham and make a better, cleaner, safer borough.”

This isn’t the first time such an eccentric project has been dreamed up. Similar schemes have been organized in the United States, however, most of these initiatives were limited to private apartment complexes and not public land.

Main image credit: Christmas Junkie/Flickr. (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)


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