Dog DNA used to cite owners who don’t pick up poop

SAN FRANCISCO - FEBRUARY 24: A dog walks by a sign about litter clean-up at Ft. Funston February 24, 2006 in San Francisco. San Francisco is on its way to being the first city in the nation to convert dog waste to alternative energy by ingesting discarded dog feces into a methane digester, a device that uses bugs and eat the material and emit methane, which would be trapped and burned to power a turbine to make electricity. Dog waste accounts for 4 percent of garbage picked up at San Francisco homes. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

MALNATE, Italy — Officials in a small Italian town use DNA to determine which dog owners don’t pick up their pup’s poop.

According to ABC News, Malnate’s environmental department asked all residents to register their dogs in the city’s database earlier this year.

Owners reportedly had to submit their dog’s saliva to the department, and those who did not complete the registration were fined for non-compliance.

Malnate has 2,156 registered dogs and the city has been struggling to enforce the law fining owners who do not pick up after their pets, according to ABC.  Law officers did not know who to cite unless they directly saw an owner neglecting to clean up.

Now, with the new dog DNA database, they can track down specific owners violating the ordinance.

Malnate’s environmental commissioner Giuseppe Riggi told ABC News, “The deterrent effect is considerable. Knowing that the local dogs are now recognizable has led many of their masters to behave civilly and the sidewalks are cleaner.  At the same time, pet owners thank us because now the other citizens look at them with less distrust.”

The city has reportedly collected 12 fecal samples that were left unattended on the sidewalks.  They were able to extract 9 DNA samples and found 7 matches within the database.  Those owners were sent fines in the mail.

Officials told ABC News that 83 other Italian municipalities are interested in the program.