DNA testing could be used to catch out culprits who don’t clean up after their pets - would you register your dog?

By Rhona Shennan
Tuesday, 21 May, 2019, 11:57
The scheme has appeared effective in reducing owners not cleaning up after their dogs (Photo: Shutterstock)

Dog fouling could potentially land owners in court, but the presence of dog poo on the streets still remains.

One council in Essex has had enough of irresponsible dog owners not picking up after their pets.

Dog DNA testing

Tony Cox, a council leader in Southend, has announced a proposal for DNA testing to prosecute lazy dog walkers.

Owners would need to agree to having their pets swabbed so that the DNA could be added to a database. The possibility of identifying owners through testing is designed to deter owners who might ignore their dogs defecation.

The tests will cost £120, which will be charged to the guilty dog walker, in addition to the £80 fixed penalty.

What are the consequences of not picking up dog poo?

As it stands, not cleaning up after your dog could land you a variety of punishments.

In Scotland, The Dog Fouling (Scotland) Act 2003, means that it is an offence for someone in charge of a dog not to clean up after it.

The maximum fine a person in Scotland can be issued with is £500. The fixed penalty is £40.

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In England and Wales, the consequences are slightly different. The Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 covers dog fouling offences.

A person can be given an £80 fine on the spot for failing to clean up after their dog. If the person issued with the fine refuses to pay, they can then be taken to court and the fine can increase up to £1,000.

Are other places doing DNA testing?

The London Borough of Barking and Dagenham Council was one of the first councils to bring in the dog DNA scheme in 2015.

The LBBD Council website states, “During this scheme we saw half the amount of dog mess we usually see on our streets.”

Other areas across the globe have also adopted this approach to cracking down on owners who don’t clean up after their dogs, including Spain and the United States.

What do you think?

Would you like to see policies like DNA testing to identify dog fouling culprits? Let us know by taking our poll.

This article originally appeared on our sister site Edinburgh Evening News