It doesn’t seem like so long ago that DNA testing was the task of forensic experts working on hugely important criminal cases. But here’s another sign that it’s entered the mainstream: An Israeli city wants to use DNA testing to catch dog owners who don’t clean up their mutts’ messes.
Petah Tikva, a town near Tel Aviv, is in the midst of compiling a DNA database of its dog population. Right now authorities are in a six-month trial of the program, and registering your dog is optional. You can see video of their efforts (if you really want to) at the BBC.
Soon officials hope to make the program mandatory so that they can track down irresponsible owners and fine them, and possibly reward dog owners who do the right thing. The dogs, for their part, are off the hook, though perhaps they feel their privacy has been violated by being forced to give their DNA to a government database.
Nevertheless, these aren’t the first quasi-draconian measures to keep “our environment clean,” as Petah Tikva’s chief veterinarian calls the purpose of the program. The BBC’s article says that some British cities use closed-circuit TV to monitor the streets and catch non-cleaner-uppers.