Poll: DNA swabs hound poo out of Barking & Dagenham

A yorkshire terrier playing

A yorkshire terrier playing - Credit: EMPICS Entertainment

Barking and Dagenham is set to become the first council in the country to use DNA testing to catch irresponsible pet owners who fail to clean up after their dogs.

The council revealed plans to carry out DNA testing on dog mess to identify owners who will then face fines of up to £80 at a Dog Fouling Forum at the Barking Learning Centre on Sunday night.

A painless cheek swab would be taken from dogs’ cheeks and then sent to a laboratory. Each dog’s profile will then be added to a DNA registry.

Once registered, the council can easily identify the offending dog owners.

A simple test would be able to trace faeces back to a registered dog with a 99.9 per cent accuracy.

Speaking at the dog fouling forum, Cllr Darren Rodwell said: “The vast majority of dog owners in Barking and Dagenham are socially responsible but unfortunately a selfish few think it’s okay to not clean up after their pet.

“Dog mess not only spoils our streets – it’s also a health hazard and especially to young children.

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“It’s why we are using this innovative approach in making a cleaner, healthier and better Barking and Dagenham.”

PooPrints UK are now in discussions with the council about the plans of collecting the DNA and how it could become a legal requirement by April 2016 next year.

Streetkleen Managing Director, Gary Downie, said: “I believe the combination of DNA testing and enforcement could be the most effective means of ensuring owners are held accountable for their dog’s actions.”

The council currently employs a dedicated dog warden to deal with dog poo and other related issues.