CASCADE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — You’ve probably never heard of dog DNA tests as a way to sniff out owners who neglect to clean up after their pets — we hadn’t.
Strange as it may sound, one of the companies that does it says it’s a proven method of cutting down on unclaimed dog droppings.
Now it’s being utilized in Cascade Township. Property managers at the Ridges of Cascade — an apartment community that opened only in the last few years — are rolling out the high-tech, scientific method to find out who’s not picking up after their dog.
The Ridges of Cascade is called a “luxury community” — and not just for the people.
“This is our 24-hour pet spa,” assistant property manager Anna Holmes showed to 24 Hour News 8 on Tuesday, saying it’s among the community’s many pet-friendly amenities, including a “bark park.”
There are a lot of dogs at the complex. Holmes estimated some 60 percent of residents own a pet. There are so many that the managers are turning to a scientific method to solve an age-old pet problem: dog droppings.
The complex has signs, plastic bags and containers to throw away droppings, but says they’re not always used.
“Did a little bit further research and found a company called PooPrints,” Holmes said.
Based in Tennessee, the company touts itself as the ‘DNA Solution for Dog Waste.’
“I think we all got a big chuckle out of it in the office, for sure,” Holmes said when asked what she thought upon hearing of the technology, adding she was surprised to learn it even existed.
But the process is no joke. All pet owners will be given kits and asked to swab the inside of their dog’s mouth. Those get sent to PooPrints, Holmes said, which will keep a database of the dog DNA.
If dog waste is found on the property, it will be sent to the PooPrints lab to find a match. The irresponsible dog owner could be slapped with a $350 fine.
When asked if she thought the idea was excessive, Holmes replied, “No, not at all.”
“Not when we’re dealing with a community of this size and being incredibly pet friendly,” she continued.
Holmes said language in residents’ existing pet agreement should cover the tests and added the kits aren’t an extra cost outside of the resident’s built-in pet fees.
She said the reaction has been “very positive,” but 24 Hour News wanted to get the scoop ourselves.
One resident said she’s all for it, saying, “Yeah, I don’t want to step in that mess.”
“I think it’s stupid as hell, to tell you the truth,” another resident said.
“It was like a ‘CSI’ thing for dog poop. You’re like, ‘OK, I don’t really understand this.’ But I do understand it if it means there’s not going to be crap all over the place,” said resident Cory Williamson, who said he has warmed up to the idea.
Holmes said PooPrints isn’t the only company that provides a similar service. And there is an apparent need: A PooPrints representative told 24 Hour News 8 over the phone on Tuesday that the company works with more than 1,500 living communities across the U.S., including a few others in West Michigan.
Holmes added that she wouldn’t be surprised if a resident fights the complex upon being fined. She said implementing the technology and enforcing the rules will be a learning process and they will have to work out some kinks.