A Braintree condominium association has taken a new approach to ensuring dog owners pick up after their pets - testing DNA in doggie droppings.
For the last month, Devon Wood condominiums has enjoyed a nearly poop-free property thanks to DNA samples taken from all 53 resident dogs. The samples act as a deterrent to keep lackadaisical pet owners from turning a blind eye to their pets' waste.
Barbara Kansky the association’s general manager said that the testing helps support the property's pet-friendly atmosphere while keeping the grounds "clean and green" for all residents.
"It's a pet friendly community, but owning a pet is a privilege, not a right. With that comes responsibilities like walking the dog on a leash, not tying them up at night, making sure their barking is not a problem and cleaning and disposing of their waste," she said.
Kansky said she has owned dogs for about 30 years.
When she first sent out the memo, back in May, Kansky had a mixed reaction from residents. Some asked if she was joking, and others grumbled about the inconvenience of getting their dog's cheek swabbed. For the most part, though, residents were intrigued at the novel approach.
"I laughed myself silly at first; just the idea of it," Kansky said. " But it's been terrific. It really makes a difference."
Kransky brought the new practice to Devon Wood after learning that it had been successful at other properties in the U.S., and after experiencing her "tipping point" with a resident who got defensive when confronted about her dog's waste.
"Some people are just lazy. They just don't want to (clean up after their dogs). Even when they're caught... instead of saying, 'You're right,' and cleaning it up, they argue about why they didn't pick it up," said Kransky. "It's just not acceptable."
Some of the unwelcome droppings were getting caught in lawn mowers or, even worse, being flung through the blades and spattering on grounds keepers.
Dog owners were required to pay a one-time $60 fee to submit their dog's DNA into the PooPrints USA database. From now on, all property droppings are tested, and if a match comes back, the owner has to pay a $50 testing fee as well as a $100 penalty.
So far, only three rogue poops have been discovered. The first was tested, and came back as a mystery (meaning a deer or stray could have left it). The other two droppings are still being tested.