DNA Profiling Keeps the Streets of This French Tourist Town Poop-Free

Mary Simpson
by Mary Simpson
Photo Credit: Dejan Dundjerski/Shutterstock.com

The mayor of Béziers, a small town in southern France is mad as hell and he isn’t going to take it anymore. Take what, you’re asking? The messy, smelly dog poop that errant pet owners have been failing to “collect” when walking their pooches along the picturesque streets of this storybook city.

He’s decided to put his foot down and begin an aggressive program that will fine pet parents who fail to clean up after their dogs.

So, right off the mark one has to wonder what a city council can possibly do to stop this type of behavior. Well, it seems that Béziers has introduced a not-so-unique practice when it comes to nailing down the perp (and perp pooch). It’s an approach that’s already in place in a number of cities ranging from London to Tel Aviv and even Valencia, Spain and it includes tracking offenders using DNA. Yes, dog poop left behind is being collected and profiled to identify the culprit - and, by association, the culprit’s human accomplice.

How are they able to link a random poop back to a specific dog? It’s actually fairly straightforward – all dogs in this town are required to have submitted a DNA sample that can be used for comparison to the errant doo-doo. For the duration of the two-year pilot, every single pet owner must have had their dog’s saliva tested with the results being officially entered into a database by the town’s own veterinary specialist. Once done, a document or “genetic passport” is issued and the owner must carry this proof of testing with them any time they’re out for a walk with their dog.

If you’re caught strolling with Rover and don’t have the necessary document, you can be fined approximately $40 USD. And if you fail to stoop/scoop and it’s discovered that his DNA is fouling up the streets, the fine can be as much as $130 USD.

In Mislata, near Valencia, pet owners can face a much heftier fine of over $300 USD for non-registration and a further $200 USD if they fail to clean up their dog’s “output”.

Understanding that this may be new news for many tourists visiting Béziers for the first time, the city has confirmed there will be a certain measure of leniency for non-residents. There will also be a three-month “ramp-up” phase for the townsfolk as they get up to speed with this new program.

But this method of tracking isn’t unique to Europe. Condo boards and apartment management companies from New York to Denver in the United States and Toronto to West Vancouver in Canada have initiated this same process for identifying and dealing with repeat offenders in a bid to keep their grounds safe and sanitary for residents. But for an entire town to go poop-free… now that’s ambitious!

Mary Simpson
Mary Simpson

Sharing space with three seriously judgy Schnoodles and a feline who prefers to be left alone. #LivingMyBestLife

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