Wednesday, 2 November 2016

DNA dumps: Spanish town uses canine DNA to track owners who leave dog poop in the street

Anyone living in a Valencia town who leaves their pet’s poop on the pavement is facing heavy fines, after a DNA check system has been put into place.

Photo via Flickr by David Wormley / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

After many complaints about dog excrement on the streets of the town, dog owners in Mislata, near Valencia, have been ordered to register their dog’s DNA using mandatory blood samples, by December 31st this year. The pets’ DNA will then be kept on a council database to be matched against samples of dog poop picked up by the city’s street cleaners.

According to The Local, the council put the following notice on their website:

"To avoid unpleasant feces that some owners forget on the street, the city has launched a DNA analysis system that identifies droppings."

Mislata street cleaners ordered to collect the poop for analysis

The notice went on to read that street cleaners will now be responsible for collecting samples, which will then be guarded by the local police and analyzed in a laboratory. When the errant dog owner is traced, they will then be fined a hefty €200 for their crime.

Desperate to clean up their streets, this is only the latest in a string of councils across Spain who have introduced the measures, including Hernani in the Basque Country and Tarragona in Catalonia. Colmenar Viejo, north of Madrid, even went so far as to hire a private detective to track down the poop culprits. Brunete, another town close by, introduced a scheme whereby they mailed the poop found in the streets directly to the dog owner’s home.

Madrid city officials took a further step earlier this year by announcing a new plan to make dog owners work as street cleaners, or pay a fine of up to €1500, if they failed to pick up the dog poop.

Inflatable dog poop statue in Madrid town stolen

The Local also mentioned Torrelodones, outside Madrid, whose council positioned a giant, inflatable dog turd in front of the town hall to protest the increasing amount of dog poop found on the town’s pavements. The council reckoned that 15,000 separate poos producing some 500kg of excrement a day were being left on the streets. 

Needless to say, someone - either with a sense of humor or guilty of not picking up their pet’s piles - stole the darn thing.