Soon in Switzerland: A DNA test against dog owners who leave their droppings lying around

An American company is able to identify by means of a DNA sample the animal at the origin of an abandoned droppings. It is now established in Switzerland.

DNA from a dog’s discarded droppings can be traced back to its owner.

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Despite the obligation to pick up dog droppings, it is not uncommon to find some on a sidewalk, along paths or even in sandboxes. This arouses the dissatisfaction of walkers, residents and farmers. But an American company has a solution to remedy the problem: it has developed a test which determines the DNA of the animal and which therefore makes it possible to trace its unscrupulous owner, and to verbalize it if necessary. And it is now establishing itself in Switzerland.

For management and campsites

With this test, the firm PooPrints is primarily aimed at property managers, campsite owners or municipalities. “The procedure is simple: if a dog owner wants to move into an apartment or a campsite, for example, he must have his animal registered in a DNA database”, explains Iryna Zvarych of PooPrints, quoted by 20 minutes. If poop is discovered, a sample can be taken using a kit and sent to the lab. “The offending owner can then be billed for the costs of cleaning and laboratory testing, i.e. 65 francs”.

Letting your dog relieve himself in a meadow or near a meadow where cows graze can have serious repercussions. Indeed, dogs (like other carnivores) are the final hosts of the infectious agent of neosporosis. An infection that can cause abortions and embryonic lesions in cattle, recalls the Federal Office for Food Safety and Veterinary Affairs.

Already present in the USA, Canada, Mexico, Great Britain, Ireland and France, the company has more than 800,000 canine genetic profiles in its database. “Our customers report that the program has reduced discarded feces by 95%,” according to the spokesperson. “When people know they will be held accountable, they change their behavior.”

Disproportionate?

In Switzerland, we show our teeth in the face of the arrival of the process. Admittedly, there are also indelicate dog owners, but their proportion is low, especially in comparison with certain neighboring countries, notes Hansueli Beer, president of the Swiss Cynological Society (SCS). In addition, with us, picking up droppings is mandatory and the owner can be sentenced to a hefty fine in the event of an infraction. As a result, he does not believe that PooPrints can impose itself in Switzerland.

From a legal point of view, the authorities or the owners of buildings are entitled to link the possession of an animal in a rented accommodation to conditions, such as that of having to provide a DNA sample of a dog, recalls for her part, Bianca Körner, legal assistant at the Foundation for Animals in Law (TIR). But recording canine DNA for the sole purpose of identifying troublemakers seems disproportionate to him. Because according to her, not all dog owners are aware of the potentially significant consequences of abandoned dog waste. It would be better to resort to an awareness campaign on the harmful consequences for the health of wildlife.

(dak/cht)

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