DULUTH, MN (KQDS/CNN) - An apartment complex in Minnesota where 56 dogs live has begun identifying all dog feces left on the ground using DNA in order to determine which pet owners are to blame.
Property manager Peggy Walsh says the average dog produces 276 pounds of poop every year, and with more than one-third of the Endi Apartments’ residents owning the animals, that can leave a lot of poop on the ground.
"Everyone knows, as a dog owner in this building, it’s their responsibility to pick up their own waste,” Walsh said. "The safety is a big one for us and the environmental impact because all of the bacteria that grows out of just even one fecal dropping of a dog. There’s over three billion bacteria in one dropping, and that can over time work its way into our watersheds and our lakes and our streams.”
So, Walsh implemented a new policy: all dog poop left on the ground is sent to the Tennessee-based company Poo Prints, which allows apartment staff to send a portion of the feces away for DNA testing.
"When we have to go out there picking up the poop, it’s our time and resources as well,” Walsh said. "I felt like doing the DNA testing was an easy way to identify who did it without involving the entire property and creating a problem that was bigger than just the pile that was there.”
Poo Prints sends the testing results in about 7 to 10 business days.
When the results arrive, the apartment residents who own the offending dogs will be facing a fine: $350 for a first offense and $450 for a second offense.
A third offense could mean finding new living arrangements for the dog owner and pet.
Walsh says as time goes on, residents and future clients should take well to the new policy, and the results should be at least 90 percent accurate.
"It brings residents satisfaction across the board. People aren’t bumping into poop, and it also contributes to the cleanliness of the property,” Walsh said.
Apartment staff has already sent four samples in for testing.