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Science Idle

Property Managers Use DNA To Sniff Out Dog Poop Offenders 234

Posted by samzenpus
from the thank-you-science dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "News changes during holidays. It gets thinner and lighter and weirder as the hordes of writers and editors who produce the overwhelming flood of news, updates and infotainments go home to annoy friends and family rather than readers and advertisers. Top points in ridiculousness, however, go to the condo- and apartment-complex managers in Braintree, MA, who were inspired to become amateur zoo-geneticists by resident pet owners who not only refused to clean up after their pets, but challenged the apartment managers to prove it was their pets contributing the increasingly hazardous, unpleasant piles of doggie doo on apartment properties. Rather than put up with a neverending supply of potential EcoBot fuel on marring the landscaping, facilities managers took cheek swabs of all the dogs on the property and sent them to A Knoxville, Tenn. that provided DNA profiles under a program with the dignified name 'PooPrints.' Now, for a fee of only $60 per pooch, residential managers can confirm the provider of a pile of PooPrintable material by comparing the DNA in the dog with the DNA in the pile. 'Now you don't really have to worry about dog poop,' said one fan of the practical application of zoological genetic analysis. 'The grass is now ours again, we don't have to worry about it [poop], and that's a good thing.' Restraint is just as important as innovation, of course, so the building managers made a point of telling the AP reporter who wrote the story that they wouldn't extend the effort to identifying which pooch peed on which bush and when. 'That's a little more difficult. We are not going to tackle that.' Finally, in this holiday season, something to be thankful for." The city of Petah Tikva, Israel started a similar identification program in 2008.
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Property Managers Use DNA To Sniff Out Dog Poop Offenders

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  • This is why (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    You should own a fucking cat instead.

    • by i kan reed (749298) on Monday December 02, 2013 @11:00AM (#45574223) Homepage Journal

      Then all the feces is helpfully contained to your bed and inside your shoes.

    • by SJHillman (1966756) on Monday December 02, 2013 @11:00AM (#45574225)

      Fucking cats is illegal in most states.

      • Hmmm. That’s odd. All States have land grant colleges and all land grant colleges have courses in animal husbandry. So it can’t be a general principal. Do you know that ban cats specifically?

      • Fucking cats are illegal in most states
        Not true

        • Not true

          Depends if it is in the process of fucking or owned for the purpose of fucking. In the latter case the legality depends on who or what is going to be fucking it.

          PS

          Does this qualify as "stuff that matters" or "nwes for nerds"? :)

    • You should own a fucking cat instead.

      Then you'll end up with litters of kittens.

    • by Nyder (754090)

      You should own a fucking cat instead.

      I own a cat, but I got it fixed. I don't want it fucking, you know that female cats in heat meow all the time? It's annoying. More annoying then watching where you are walking, tbh.

  • . . . by pooping on the grass yourself. . .
    • by Walterk (124748)

      Or go to the local zoo and pick up some wolf/tiger/lion poo..

    • No no no, you're aiming too low! There's clearly now a market for microbeads containing oligomers which will foil the PCR that you can feed these dogs to make their poop undetectable.

      I don't know anything about raising venture capital, but I'm going to do a little more research and try to get on "shark tank" pitching that.
  • inconsiderate... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 02, 2013 @10:51AM (#45574161)

    Inconsiderate is what people are... I know dogs can be picky but come on... You bought the thing. You take care of it. Yet you can not control one bit and walk 3 blocks so your dog can take a crap somewhere?

    Yesterday while raking my yard I saw a couple who *waited* for at least 10 mins for me to go inside. So they could let their dog piss on my yard eventually they gave up. Thankfully all the dogs in the neighborhood have killed 100x3ft of my grass. I have tried planting more hardy type grasses (so I do not have to water as much). But nothing survives but weeds. Never mind the 3 empty fields nearby. Least most of my neighbors pick the crap up which is about all the credit I can give them.

    • Re:inconsiderate... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by SJHillman (1966756) on Monday December 02, 2013 @11:03AM (#45574251)

      I inadvertently taught my dog to not crap on the lawn. When he was still house training, I always took him off into the tall weeds to do his business - since then, he goes to great lengths to not crap on the lawn. He'll find tall weeds, go off in the woods or crap over an embankment if at all possible. Last week, he had to go and there was only lawn in site, so he made sure to crap on a large rock rather than the grass... made it easier for me to scoop it up.

      • by Sarten-X (1102295)

        +1, Inadvertently Brilliant

      • by Like2Byte (542992)

        True story.

        I taught my small, 20lb dog to not crap in the house, too. We always walk up a hill so he can crap in the field behind the house. He doesn't like to crap on short grass, either.

        One day, on vacation in Kansas City, KS, we walked out of the hotel for a morning walk. We walked across the street (near a highway). We walked and walked and he wouldn't do his business. Finally, he semi-squated in front of a small, manucured bush and promptly deposited a turd on top of it.

        Triumphantly, I left it there.

        • Our dogs should team up to host the First Annual Courteous Pooping Convention, for fine crappers everywhere.

    • by Xest (935314)

      Why would people intentionally let their dog piss on your grass? It's not like they couldn't piss just about anywhere else is it?

      Dog piss is full of nitrogen and that's what makes it kill the grass, so trying hardy types that you have to water less isn't going to help you. You need to water your grass to dilute the nitrogen content of their urine.

      FWIW I'm a dog owner and I always pick up their crap. I wish the same could be said for cat owners whose cats shit in garden beds and spend the rest of their time

      • >>Why would people intentionally let their dog piss on your grass?

        Because some people are selfish, just want to get their dog walk over with, and frankly don't give a shit.

    • by MiniMike (234881) on Monday December 02, 2013 @12:21PM (#45574997)

      Yesterday while raking my yard I saw a couple who *waited* for at least 10 mins for me to go inside. So they could let their dog piss on my yard eventually they gave up.

      These are the kind of people that motion activated sprinklers were invented for.

  • Wow, what a wonderful way to improve the already adversarial relationship between property managers and tenants. No thanks, I'll live elsewhere. If it were my building, I'd quietly have maintenance clean up any poop they found, and verbally remind tenants if they catch them in the act.
    • by EzInKy (115248)

      You are assuming you can find and afford maintenance people who are willing who are willing to quietely clean up poop, are you not? So come on! Put your money where your mouth is and start hiring a bunch or people willing to clean up whatever shit they run in to!

    • Wow, what a wonderful way to improve the already adversarial relationship between property managers and tenants.

      I agree, it's a total dick move on the part of the lazy fucks who refuse to clean up after their dogs. Just think, if they'd be responsible adults and clean up after their pets, the managers wouldn't need to waste money on DNA testing, a cost which will inevitably be passed along to the other tenants.

    • by pivo (11957)

      We tried this in our building for years. Problems: It's expensive to have maintenance clean up the dog poop (and the dog owners actually complained about the additional expense) and it's almost impossible to catch them in the act since they only do it when nobody's around. It sucks to have to use doggy DNA, but it sucks more to step in dog shit walking out your front door.

    • As someone that lives in an apartment where about 1/8th the residents own dogs; the owners need shock collars of their own. Quite literally, they let their dogs shit on the sidewalks and parking lot. "Land-mines" galore! One of my neighbors created a morning ritual in which she lets her retriever piss on the stairway.

      I'm convinced that if people can't be respectful and cleanup after their pets, they shouldn't be allowed to have children! Further more, the next time I see an owner actively let his/her dog pi

      • by MightyYar (622222)

        I lived in NYC for a few years, and was a bit taken aback by how people accept dogs shitting and peeing in the middle of the sidewalk. I assumed people had to "curb" their dog. With the number of dogs in NYC, the shit imprints all over the sidewalk soon cover almost the entire surface and make a kind of shit collage on the sidewalk, interrupted only by little rivers of dog piss. Very nice. At least they are banned from Central Park - that place would become uninhabitable very quickly if the dogs were allowe

        • At least they are banned from Central Park - that place would become uninhabitable very quickly if the dogs were allowed in.

          If dogs are banned in Central Park, they're doing a poor job of enforcement. I visited in July and at least two families had dogs with them. One of the dogs was even stalking a pigeon on a grassed area.

          • by MightyYar (622222)

            Yes, I meant the grassy areas. Dogs abound on the paths, and not all grassy areas are dog-free. In the mornings, you can even let them off of their leashes in certain areas. At some of the neighborhood parks, there are dog exercise areas - even separating the little dogs from the big ones. Depending on your feelings about space scarcity and canines, it is either very nice or a little depressing.

    • by MiniMike (234881) on Monday December 02, 2013 @01:21PM (#45575635)

      Wow, what a wonderful way to improve the already adversarial relationship between property managers and tenants who are inconsiderate asshats

      FTFY.
      Really, anyone who can't be bothered to pick up their pets poop from property that isn't theirs is being exactly that.

  • hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by buddyglass (925859) on Monday December 02, 2013 @11:13AM (#45574333)
    This doesn't strike me as ridiculous at all. It would only be ridiculous if the apartment failed to build the cost of the DNA analysis service into the fines it assigns to offending dog owners.

    I wonder how much it would cost to preemptively create a DNA database of all the dogs so you have a ready-to-go database for matching poop when its found. Then they wouldn't have to rely on humans "reporting" the offenders. Just get the poop, have it analyzed, and fine the owner.
  • by pivo (11957) on Monday December 02, 2013 @11:15AM (#45574351)

    I agree it's ridiculous to have to resort to doggy DNA but it's the only thing that finally forced dog owners in my building in Boston to stop letting their pets poop right in front of the building's door. Nobody wants to navigate a minefield of dog poop to get in or out of their home and it's incredibly frustrating and irritating that your fellow residents don't care enough to clean up after their dog.

    What's really ridiculous is that Doggy DNA is necessary.

    • by Xest (935314) on Monday December 02, 2013 @12:08PM (#45574875)

      If it's at the door wouldn't CCTV on the building be far cheaper and easier?

      It'd take what, 5 mins to rewind to the point of spotting it and recognising the resident no?

      • Easier probably, but there are at least two other concerns. 1: Privacy. Unless the CCTV is programmed to activate only upon identifying a pooping dog, you're catching everything. With just collecting and testing the poop, you're only invading the privacy of the dog in question. Which is not much of a concern. 2: a CCTV could create the illusion that crime is going up among residents and other people, making them feel less safe even if you say it's for dog poop. Conversely, saying "Oh, we do DNA testin
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      What's really ridiculous is that Doggy DNA is necessary.

      The kind of person who would lock another person up in an unnatural environment for them for hours while they go make more money to pay for that environment just so someone will be nice to them when they get home is probably an asshole. If they weren't, they wouldn't have to enslave a dog in order to feel good about themselves. And before anyone says yeah but the dog enjoys serving humans, they'd enjoy serving them more in a better environment.

      I'm not against people having pets, I'm against people using pet

    • by Kjella (173770)

      What's really ridiculous is that Doggy DNA is necessary.

      People have been annoyed by this for ages, the ridiculous part is really that it's not just possible but has gone from ridiculously expensive research to something we use to identify owners who don't pick up their dog poo in a few decades. Many people have now seriously started to question if we should just full sequence everyone (currently $5-6000/person) because the lifetime savings in healthcare (hereditary diseases, genetic risk factors, effectiveness of drugs), medical research (finding genes related t

  • I couldn't help thinking about a break-in/home invasion I had about 7 years ago. Seems the perps waited in a patch that had some tall weeds at that time, in the back of my yard, until my lights went out (around midnight) plus 2 hours. I puzzled that together because the next morning while I was waiting for the detective, I did a walkabout and found the cigarette butts, plus some items that where taken from my house and subsequently discarded.

    When the detective came, he dusted for some fingerprints (didn't

  • by sunking2 (521698) on Monday December 02, 2013 @11:48AM (#45574669)
    This rates as one of the worst leads into a story I've seen on here. Someone is trying way too hard.
  • Time for tennants to start demanding lower rent, if they have so much profit they can screw around doing DNA testing on poop, they can hire someone part time to pick up the poop.

    Some of these property managers are as bad as the old farts that police HOA's.

    • by MightyYar (622222)

      They are charging the dog owners, both for the initial test and for the forensics work later on.

  • by cyn1c77 (928549) on Monday December 02, 2013 @12:18PM (#45574973)

    Why not just put a security camera on the condo poop spaces?

    It might help with crime too.

  • I live close to the city of Vienna, Austria. It is famous in Europe for its campaign a Sackerl für mein Gackerl, literally "a baggie for my poopies". The accompanying media campaign initially played upon civic sense, and still exclusively plays upon civic sense: have a dog, walk it, wait for it to poo, scoop up poo with one of the free plastic bags provided everywhere in and around Vienna's green zones (parks etc. ). Works splendidly. Costs almost nothing. Poop problem solved.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by mcelrath (8027)
      Brilliant. Every time I've been forced to not pick up poop, it was because I didn't have a bag, not because I wanted to (and where possible I always go back and get it later). I've had my dog shit three times on one walk. I'm really tired of hearing "solutions" to problems created by psychopaths. This "solution" using poop and DNA utterly lacks empathy towards dog owners, and that's what psychopaths do. There are better ways.
      • by PPH (736903)

        Every time I've been forced to not pick up poop, it was because I didn't have a bag, not because I wanted to

        I wonder how the movement of various municipalities to ban plastic shopping bags will affect the doggie poop issue. This is possibly the #1 recycling use for these bags.

    • This is how you solve these social problems. Seems obvious, but people have to know it's wrong, but more importantly everyone else has to know it's wrong as well. Even if they wouldn't do the right thing on their own, having dozens of disapproving eyes following you along with the occasional vocal critic does wonders. The shaming effect is a pretty powerful social force (unless you're a pop diva).

  • There's always a fresh pile in my yard off to the side where she must think it would be less visible to let her dog go. I saw her once, but I was just getting up and didn't have a chance to run down and yell at her. But, the poop is always there. I'd wait for her, but she only walks her dog on my yard once or twice a week. If I had a sprinkler system, I'd rig it to go off the moment she set foot there. Or, maybe beam her dog with something for shock like a rotten egg.

  • I think it's a brilliant way to manage this. I've had so many friends talk about having to deal with dog poop in the halls and stairwells of their condos. If Building management is being non-confrontational about it then I don't really see it as a problem. It quickly identifies the issue and applies the charge where it's due.

    From TFA:

    Polite reminders, letters and notices previously failed to persuade errant pet owners to observe condo rules requiring them to clean up after their animals, Kansky said. There were problems even after residents reported seeing others failing to pick up their dog's messes.

    "We would call or send a letter and that dog owner would say: 'Prove it,'" Kansky said.

    Interpretation: Without proof, some pet owners felt entitled to do as they pleased.

    Then:

    DNA monitoring has yielded immediate and dramatic results in the condominium community of Devon Wood, where maintenance staff previously reported seeing, stepping onto or driving over several piles of droppings each week on its 350-acre property.

    Interpretation: WITH proof, (almost ALL) pet owners now clean up as per the condo rules

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