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Catching Poop and Scoop Offenders With Doggie DNA

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It's not every day, that I see a story like this one -- the city of Petach Tikva, near Tel Aviv, has found a novel way to catch dog owners who are not stooping to scoop their dog poop. Dr. Tika Bar-On, a veterinarian who I spoke with today, has launched a one-of-a-kind project to collect dog DNA from a city neighbourhood.

With a large database of doggy DNA on file, the city will be able to track and trace offenders who are not picking up their doggie doo. It's a huge problem over here in Israel. Barely anyone is cleaning up after their animals, but Dr. Bar-On urges owners to do it, especially due to the health concerns of worms and bacteria that can spread to humans.

There is also an environmental concern, she notes. After the rain, animal poop gets washed into the city sewers, which, in some cases, flow to rivers or waterways without getting processed.

Now in the process of collecting the DNA, pet owners who agree to be part of the experiment, will get pet prizes, like coupons for food or special toys.

While the city sends out a team in the am and pm to give fines to pet owners (about $150) for not scooping, it's been hard enforcing the law, causing the city's mayor to ask Dr. Bar-On from veterinary services how to get better compliance. Together they dreamed up the DNA idea.

Other uses Dr. Bar-On sees for the samples, will be to study the DNA for dog diseases, or to locate the owners of lost and distressed pets.

Essentially if all the pet owners agree, it will be pretty impossible to foil the law. The crew will be taking samples from specially placed dog poop disposal bins, to determine who are the "good" pet owners, and will similarly do the same for stray fecal samples they find in the parks and byways. The proof will be in the pudding, or in this case, the dog DNA.

TreeHugger has a vast number of tips for greening your pet. Start with:

::Build a Green Veranda for Your Dog
::Reduce Your Cat's Carbon Paw Print With CatGenie
::Fat Cat Big Mama's Scratchy Box
::Eco-tip: Pine cones make good cat toys

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