Kent

DNA testing in Thanet to catch owners leaving dog's mess

A DNA swab taken from a dog
Image caption The DNA database is being started over the next three months

Dog owners who fail to pick up their pet's mess are to be tracked down using DNA testing.

A local Kent council is setting up a database of dog DNA in a pilot project to crack down on the amount of poo in public spaces.

Trevor Kennett, acting head of operational services at Thanet District Council said tens of thousands of pounds a year is spent on clear-ups.

It comes after a similar council trial saw a 60% reduction in dog fouling.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The council can issue £80 fines to people caught leaving their pet's mess

A year ago compulsory micro chipping for pets was introduced nationally, and Mr Kennett believes there is scope to see DNA registration rolled out across the country too.

"There are other countries, including Canada, which already have DNA testing as part of mandatory dog registration.

"There are great benefits. Microchips can be cut out by dog thieves, but you can't change DNA.

"Every dog registered also gets a full health check, with DNA highlighting any unseen problems."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Every dog registered also gets a full health check

Councillor Darren Rodwell, leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, which was the first in the country to pilot the voluntary scheme last year, confirmed it was a "great success" with the amount of foul on the streets more than halving.

He conceded most people signing up initially were already responsible dog owners, but it raised awareness and created "peer pressure" between dog owners in maintaining community standards.

The first 500 people to register their dogs for Thanet's three-month trial, in collaboration with Streetkleen and BioPet Laboratories, can do so free of charge, all others pay £35 thereafter.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption A similar council trial saw a 60% reduction in uncleared mess

Mr Kennett said he could not predict how effective the scheme would be.

Thanet council said it has "zero-tolerance" to dog fouling and can issue £80 fines.

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