There are many reasons to carry out your duty of picking up after your pet. First, and foremost, it’s poop, for Pete’s sake! It’s gross! You don’t like stepping in it, you don’t like your kids stepping in it and tracking it around the house and you certainly don’t want to picnic in grass that is covered in brown land mines.

But seriously, not picking up after your pooch presents a health hazard to both humans and animals. Feces can harbor bacterial and viral diseases (parvo or salmonella, anyone?), and dogs with intestinal parasites shed parasite eggs in their stool, causing a potential health problem to other dogs AND humans. That’s right—roundworms and hookworms can both infect humans, causing skin and eye disease (and even blindness!).

Feces left outdoors eventually get carried by storm water into our waterways. Now, I know that dogs (and cats) aren’t the only animals doing their business outdoors (no one is suggesting you need to clean up after your herd of cows, for example), but cleaning up after your pet is one more step you can take to protect your local water quality.

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In some places, picking up after your pet is the law. Even if there are no laws regarding cleaning up after your pet, some neighborhoods have regulations concerning doody duty. But even so, there’s no good way of enforcing these regulations.

Until now.

BioPet Vet Lab in Knoxville, Tennessee provides DNA services to pet owners. Typically, these tests are used for confirming parentage or positively identifying a stolen pet. But the lab’s newest test targets what bad neighbors (and their pets) leave behind. That’s right—a test (appropriately named “PooPrints”) that can tell who pooped on your lawn!

The company is providing the test kits to apartment complexes, condos and neighborhood associations in an effort to curb this bad habit. Of course, pet owners will have to consent to having a cheek swab obtained for an initial DNA profile of their pooch (perhaps as a stipulation to moving into the neighborhood). Then, if future tests come back a match, the owner will be subject to a fine. That’s putting your money where your…um…poop is!

May 19, 2015

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