Having dogs around is wonderful, but not all dog owners are as responsible as they should be. Part of owning a pet is caring for them, by providing them with plenty of love, shelter, food, exercise, and potty walks.
With the COVID-19 pandemic causing a worldwide lockdown, areas around the globe saw an increase in dog adoptions, which is amazing. However, some of the adoptions were with owners who weren’t experienced or responsible dog owners and now some areas are feeling the repercussions of that.
As the world starts to open back up, many shelters are filling back up with “pandemic puppies” being returned. In other areas, however, they’re experiencing other problems, like dog owners who aren’t cleaning up their pets’ poop.
In Tel Aviv, the city has been brainstorming ways to curb this issue, and they’ve come up with the perfect solution. According to The Times of Israel, the city administration passed a motion to create a DNA database of the city’s dogs.
Using the database, they could collect DNA from any dog poop left on the streets and identify the owners, and fine them.
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After receiving over 6,000 complaints regarding dog excrement left in public spaces in 2020, the city has been working to reduce the amount of dog poop being left by irresponsible pet owners.
They initially started by providing free waste bags in public areas, but that didn’t prove to help much. They went on to raise the fines for leaving dog waste in public spaces, but the issue continued. So, they’re now moving to identify owners with the poops’ DNA and fine them.
The city plans to collect the DNA of the city’s dogs by requiring each dog owner to provide a sample of their pet’s saliva or fur when they renew their animal’s license. Tel Aviv requires all dogs to be registered and permitted and their permit has to be renewed yearly, so they would submit the DNA samples as part of the renewal process.
Once the database is created, officials can compare excrement DNA with the profile of dogs in the city and mail the identified owner a 730 Shekel fine (around $220).
Speaking with Interesting Engineering, a spokesperson of Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality said, “Two percent of dog owners ruin our wonderful urban experience. Among 40,000 dog owners, a very small minority don’t pick up their waste. But this minority amounts to 500 kilograms of waste that we pick up every month from the sidewalks.”
“We have decided that the time has come to put an end to this phenomenon, and chosen a technology that identifies with total accuracy all of the responsible dogs and their owners,” he continued.
It will be interesting to see how effective their database system becomes. Perhaps it’s something that other areas will model in the future.
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