Aside from her vote on Dallas taxes a few years ago, I knew I’d like Angela Hunt. She took the time to write me that her quote made it sound like she was supporting Poo Prints, the dog-poo DNA program in effect at The Ilume and other Dallas apartments. Here is another thing I like about Angela: she didn’t say “I was mis quoted”. Instead, she clarified her quote, which is very important. Too often I think we (me triply included) say things quickly, without measuring the words, and what gurgles out of the boca is not our exact intent. So here, then, is what Angela means. Takeaway: she does NOT support a citywide program to test every Dallas dog’s DNA in order to cure people who don’t clean up after their pups (but for apartments, it’s not a bad idea):

Candy, saw your post and wanted to clarify my thoughts on the ever important issue of dog poop:

Let me clarify my quote that made it sound like I enthusiastically support a taxpayer-funded CSI lab devoted to analyzing canine excrement.

Would something like this be a useful tool for enforcement? Absolutely. Is it practical in Dallas? Not at all.

First, not all dogs in Dallas are registered, so I would venture to guess that most of the tests would be a “waste” of time. Heh. This process works great in apartment complexes and other closed communities because the landlord can trace each dog to its owner. Not practical or effective in a city like Dallas.

Second, we have more pressing issues to deal with at our city, and not enough code enforcement officers (not to mention Animal Control personnel) to deal with them.

Third, the guy speaking on behalf of the poop analysis company actually claimed that the city could reap anywhere from $40m – $100m in revenue as a result. That is so ridiculous I had to laugh at him. No, sir, that is not realistic.

I respectfully asked him to provide us with more information and show us how this has worked in other cities. I am open to being proved wrong on this, and I don’t think the concept is bad. I just don’t think it could work for Dallas, I don’t think it’s a burning priority, and I don’t see how we have the personnel or funding to enforce it.

Now I’ve heard everything. At Wednesday’s Dallas City Council meeting, our fearless leaders were actually pitched the idea of creating a citywide program to test every Dallas dog’s DNA in order to cure people who don’t clean up after their pups. The pitch came from a company that runs a dog-poo DNA program in use at the Ilume, called Poo Prints. Love the name. The Ilume, in case you do not know, is a way cool, high end apartment complex on Cedar Springs Road near the Tollway. All pet owners who live there must submit to DNA testing of their dog’s poo and keep it on file. Why? Because some dumb, irresponsible dog owners don’t pick up their dog’s poo, and guess what, in the day and age when you cannot hide from anyone  – I just learned they can now test for alcohol in breast milk —  a company, Poo Prints, can DNA test your dog’s poop and nab you. Here’s how it works: a resident with a pet signs a lease, and the dog’s cheek is swabbed. This sample is sent to the BioPet Vet Lab in Tennessee, which extracts the animals’ DNA, keeps it on file. Let’s say the apartment manager finds an errant turd. He puts it in a $30 container with enzymes, shakes, and sends it to the lab. The DNA is analyzed and, with 99.9 percent certainty, the owner of the turd is ID’d. At the Ilume, if you are not a responsible pet owner and do not bag up the poop, and if it matches the DNA of one of the dogs there on file, busted! The owner faces a $250 fine. Manager Joshuah Welch says they have more than 300 pets at Ilum and they are serious about poop. Seems Poo Prints has made his life much easier:

“We’ve gone from maybe an hour a day of poop pick-up, to picking up maybe one or two a month,” he said. The complex has about 300 pets, and Welch says residents pay the entire cost of the enforcement program.

Does this sound harsh? Not for a high density living area, no. I hate it when people don’t pick up after their dogs because it’s unsanitary and just gross, and there is no need for it. Live in the country or on multiple acres, who cares. But when there is limited grasslands (read: poo land) I do think pet owners can bend over and pocket-baggie the poo, seal and toss it in the trash can. In fact, I know of many Florida condos that fine residents hundreds of dollars a day if they don’t pick up their dog poo. It’s just your job, your doo doo duty, if you own a dog.

But to make this a city-wide ordinance, no way.

Here is NBC 5′s report on the meeting. Councilwoman Angela Hunt apparently likes the idea (surprise): “I think we do need enforcement, especially in some of our denser areas where you have a lot of folks living with dogs and, if they’re not picking up. It creates a problem.”

Yeah, but leave it up to the apartment or condo complexes, not the city. Plus this would add another cost to dog ownership, and it’s hard enough to make dog owners spay and neuter their pets, which is crucial to controlling the unwanted pet population.

But Poo Prints makes a great pitch. Each dog owner would pay $30 for a DNA sample, and then the city would pay $50 to test the DNA for a match. Poo Prints claims the city could more than recoup the $20 cost difference with fines — right. It’s illegal now not to pick up after your dog, but who the heck enforces that? What if you have to hire a collections firm to fetch the fine?

But can I buy stock in this company if this thing passes?

Cedric Moses with Poo Prints  said the DNA sampling of the turds helps pet owners find lost pets. Not sure I follow this, but it must have something to do with the DNA registry which can store all sorts of info on the pet, like owners, medical records, even I guess vaccine alerts. I have all my pets chipped, not sure I need further ID, thank you.

So what do you think… should we citizens of Dallas be forced to test our dog’s DNA so we can be fined if we fail to scoop our poop? How in the world are we going to explain that to newcomers: Welcome to Dallas, best real estate market in the country: no turds allowed!

I think it’s time to move to the country!