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Debate: Use DNA testing to tackle dog fouling? Part 1

Debate: Use DNA testing to tackle dog fouling? Part 1
This article contains: dog poo toileting DNA Dog poo

Over in the US, one company is pioneering a hi-tech but politically charged solution to the global dog mess headache - but is it ethical and could it work over here? In the first of two posts on each side of the debate, Councillor Robert Coghill says why he's in favour of dog DNA registers and the testing of dog poo to trace culprits and their irresponsible owners

The biggest issue I've faced since being elected is the problem of dog fouling. People ring me and stop me in the street to discuss the matter.

The unfair part of it is that these people are the innocent victims, those who simply want clean footpaths on which to walk their dogs. It's the irresponsible owners who are at the root of the problem - the minority of dog owners.

But how do we solve the problem when it's so hard to police? What we need is to get tough on the perpetrators and I think DNA 'poo-profiling' would do that.

Just like they have done in the States, and are proposing in some European countries, dog owners would submit their dog's DNA to be held on a central database. A sample of any offending dog mess could then be sent off and identified.

Some people may argue that it would be impossible to enforce, yet a few years ago millions of sheep in this country had to be DNA-tested to check for strands of scrapie after the CJD scare, so why not with dogs? The scheme could be voluntary, and then if people weren't coming on board, it could become mandatory with fines issued. There may be teething problems, but that's often the case with any new legislation.

At the end of the day, if an owner can't clean up after their dog, they shouldn't have one. But you can't ban the irresponsible from having pets. So wouldn't the next best thing be to force them to become more responsible?

Councillor Robert Coghill, Member of the Highland Council, Scotland

Should British dog owners have to register their pets' DNA in order to prevent dog fouling? Let us know what you think by commenting below.

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Ken Matheson
I may be wrong, as I am not an expert, but I don't think that you can get individual DNA out of poo. Even if you did are you going to have to run a check on every single dog in the database to find the offending one every time a sample is submitted?
Ken Matheson
Just had another thought. What if a dog urnates on another dog's poo and then the dog warden takes a sample of that poo. Does the dog that urinated on it get the blame for depositing the poo in the first place?You know this whole idea sounds like a load of poo.
ann newton
I think instead of spending money on testing, which in my experience is very expensive,why not use the monies to :A, give out free poo bags, they could do this instead of hiding waiting for the dogs to poo. B, provide better disposal points & empty them more often.
Sara Harris
I think DNA testing would be useful in some circumstances, for instance if the culprit was known and only proof was needed to prosecute the offending owner.
Common Sense
Good idea, as long as the local council tax payers don't mind paying hundreds of thousands of pounds failing to prove in court that the fouling was collected under the stringent conditions needed to provide evidence. Another silly idea...
Richard Storey
It is possible to obtain DNA from a dogs faeces and it is currently bring used to good effect in Israel and the USA.With regards to checking a sample against all the samples on the database, it is actually relatively simple. A much better method Of stopping fouling compared to the governments riduclous idea of compulsory microchipping.... Do they not realise that the microchip leaves with the dog?!See www.PetGen.co.uk for more information on the benefits of pet DNA identification.
PBW Designer Dog Accessories
No I don't think we should do this but speaking about my local park alone, the bins are never emptied & there siply are not enough of them. There is always faeces around,littered in the grass at weekends whch is awful. I'm not using the bin emptying or lack of it as an excuse, but it would help
gill goode
In this country the first issue to tackle is compulsory microchipping so every dog has a owner who is responsible for its behaviour. Until a dog can be linked to an owner, I don't see the point of linking poo to a particular dog. Compulsory microchipping would be cheap, efficient and help with many issues like stray dogs, dangerous dogs, welfare issues, puppy farms etc. I hope everyone connected with dog welfare supports it.
james franklin
I have a very strong suspicion that my next door neighbour is allowing his dog to defecate on the lawn in our communal garden ( the garden only belongs to myself and neighbour). Does anyone have the email (or address) of a company in the UK that can perform a DNA test on the poo left in my garden? I live in Guildford.The garden is enclosed with fences and a gate that is always left latched. Please reply to wanatoo@hotmail.co.uk
claire baker
DNA testing - I think it's the only way to go! I'm in the process of stirring things up with Wigan Council and my local MP Andy Burnham (Shadow Health Sec)after my dog has rolled twice in dog faeces and I'm for ever scraping the smelly stuff from my son's shoes.My son can't play on the grass adjacent to us because of dog mess so has to dodge the cars in our close, much to the annoyance of the neighbours!! I am a dog owner myself but would quite happily pay for my dog to have DNA samples taken if it will stop other ignorant owners badly behaving. Yes, legislation would have to change but it will save time, tax-payers money and my sanity if a DNA compulsory test was enforced. Thank you!
i totally agree with Dog Tagging, at least this would make the owners more aware of there responsibility towards their own animals, as for Poo ! this is another story .I live in a semi rural area ?& unfortunately suffer with fox fouling as well as dog poo of which both are distasteful to the nose as to the eye.As to a resolve ! DNA ? a possible option if cost effective / police-able .
Ian Tickell
What a load of arrant nonsense. Another bureaucratic nightmare, created by the same mins that gave us BSL, from the censorious brains of po-faced, parsimonious individuals with no souls.Whatever happened to the simplest form, the dog licence. It was killed by government too lazy to maintain it. A small fee, paid yearly, licencing an individual to own an animal. If used well and properly, it could be a lazy implementer's dream. Dogs, and their puppies, registered at birth; mandatory chip insertion; mandatory puppy training - and level of competence achieved - inoculations recorded, health history completed by vet, and all registered in one database. I'll write the db for nothing just to save the bureaucracy money.
Chris Tuke
Licensing and chipping do not identify the owner of the dog. DNA records would seem to be a much better solution. The fines could be set to cover the costs of the scheme alongside a nominal charge for the chip, which is also a good idea but addresses different problems. A licence, by comparison, serves little purpose.

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