January 31, 2009

Mayor wants to DNA-tag dogs

A German mayor hopes to test the DNA of every dog in his small town so poop in public places can be traced back to its origin.

Volkach Mayor Peter Kornell told The Daily Telegraph the program is voluntary because DNA data collection cannot be enforced. But he hopes the owners of the 420 dogs registered in Volkach will step up and allow hair or saliva samples to be taken, the British newspaper reported Saturday.

Any person who has trodden in their muck because their owners were too lazy or indifferent to clean up after them will know how distasteful and infuriating it is, Kornell said. So we aim to end it.

Kornell is prepared to bring the plan before the town council this month and believes it will be approved.

At least one scientist is dubious about the idea. Christoph Meissner of the Institute of Legal Medicine at the University of Wuerzburg said two related dogs of the same breed may have the same DNA profile, allowing for false positives and fines levied on innocent owners.

Some members of the council in Volkach have come up with alternate plans, including rewards for informers on those who don't scoop the poop and leaflets urging owners to do the right thing.