Doggie DNA helps identify waste not picked up by pet owners

Four-legged friends like Blue are welcome at the Springs at Kenosha.

There's a doggy spa station and two, soon-to-be dog parks from them to run around.

\"A lot of people are like me, where your pets are your babies,\" said property manager Kate Garay.

But what those fur babies leave lurking in the grass will have you watching your step.

Garay has managed pet-friendly properties for years and said it's hard to enforce dog waste pick-up.

\"I had no way to prove it,\" she said. \"I had no way to specifically say it was this specific dog.\"

That's where Poo Prints comes in. It takes the guessing game out of who's responsible for not cleaning up after their pet.

Here's how it works.

Cotton swabs are used to take the dog's DNA, which is registered into an online database. It's then shipped to a lab in Tennessee and if waste is found on the property, a simple sample can identify a match.

\"I said no way, this is perfect,\" said Anna Schloesser.

Schloesser is the owner and distributor of Poo Prints Wisconsin. She said 45 properties across the state use the program, the majority of them in Madison, and it's making a huge difference.

\"There was dog waste all over the property we rolled this out on and there's only been five samples in three years,\" Schloesser said. \"So, dramatically, almost 100 percent reduction.\"

Springs at Kenosha residents caught not disposing dog waste must pay a hefty fine. After three offenses, it's an eviction.

So far, Garay said there have been no dog waste DNA matches since the complex opened in October. A treat for everyone who calls it home.

\"Even if you're a non-pet owner it's a great program,\" Garay said. \"Because it's not necessarily the barking and just having the dog there, it is what they could step in.\"

Most commercial rental properties pass on the cost associated with Poo Prints through a resident registration fee, which ranges from $35 to $60.

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