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City Uses DNA To Sniff Out Dog Poop Offenders 252

Posted by samzenpus
from the take-a-bite-out-of-crime dept.
An Israeli city is using DNA analysis of dog droppings to reward pet owners who clean up after their pets and punish those who don't. A six-month trial program launched this week, in the city of Petah Tikva, to tackle the dog mess problem in a high tech way. The program asks dog owners to take their pets to a veterinarian, who then swabs its mouth and collects DNA. The city will use the DNA database it is building to match droppings to a dog and identify its owner. Owners who scoop up their dogs' droppings and place them in specially marked bins will be eligible for rewards of pet food coupons and dog toys. Those who leave the poo on the street face fines. I wonder what sin you had to commit in a previous life to find yourself the official dog poop examiner of Petah Tikva, Israel.

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City Uses DNA To Sniff Out Dog Poop Offenders

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  • by ColdWetDog (752185) * on Thursday September 18, 2008 @12:19AM (#25050155) Homepage
    What a shitty idea.
    • by inKubus (199753) on Thursday September 18, 2008 @12:23AM (#25050191) Homepage Journal

      Like, who gives a crap?

      • This technology is the shit!

      • I know. This idea is a real turd.
    • by moriya (195881) on Thursday September 18, 2008 @02:56AM (#25051263) Homepage

      Actually it's a good idea...

      for me to poop on!!!

    • by Dan541 (1032000)

      I don't want to be fined so I wouldn't give the city my Dogs DNA.

      What's next are they going to require all citizens hand over their DNA so they can fine us for public urination?

      Fuck that..

      • I don't want to be fined so I wouldn't give the city my Dogs DNA.

        So they fine you for not giving it. Either way you get fined.

        Of course the idea that this entire solution could be avoided if people cleaned up their own dog's crap seems to escape people.

  • Hey, I have an idea! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by grasshoppa (657393) <skennedyNO@SPAMtpno-co.org> on Thursday September 18, 2008 @12:23AM (#25050189) Homepage

    How about I don't take my dog to the vet for the swabbing?

    I'm no criminal mastermind, but it just might work!

    • I think, maybe, the point was more so the rewards program... but then maybe just skim through what happens if you don't clean up after your pet.
      Maybe.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 18, 2008 @12:41AM (#25050331)

      In Israel, you need to have a license for your dog from the city/municipality where you live; you get it when you take your dog to the vet for its annual rabies vaccination. All licensed dogs must be "chipped" also.

      I suppose getting caught walking an unlicensed dog will also get you a hefty fine, and your dog will be confiscated. I wouldn't think that most municipalities in Israel have a lot of budget for paying people to check on dog licensing and enforcing the "clean after your dog" laws. Maybe this is one way to try to generate a new income stream for the municipality (people already pay for licensing their dogs)?

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by antifoidulus (807088)
        income stream

        Best euphemism for bodily waste ever!
      • by TheLoneCabbage (323135) on Thursday September 18, 2008 @06:49AM (#25052411) Homepage

        I live in Modi'in (in Israel), city of the future. Apparently in the future most people refuse to pick up the poop of their horse sized dogs. This isn't a problem only in my city, this is nation wide. It's a weird cultural thing.

        In any case, we are electing a new mayor, and at a public debate we heard from all of the candidates. It was running neck and neck until one stood up and said he'd sick the gestapo on anyone who doesn't pick up after their pets. Judging by the reaction he got, dude is gonna win by a landslide!

        This method would let any city clean up it's streets without hiring more cops, which sounds great to me.

        • by Kozz (7764)

          I live in Modi'in (in Israel)... [he] said he'd sick the gestapo on anyone who doesn't pick up after their pets.

          (emphasis mine)

          Israel... Gestapo. I'm guessing you're paraphrasing? It would seem usage of the term would be rather frowned upon. I can't imagine the general population frequently employing such a phrase and saying, "oh, we're over that -- it's all history now."

      • In Israel, you need to have a license for your dog from the city/municipality where you live; you get it when you take your dog to the vet for its annual rabies vaccination. All licensed dogs must be "chipped" also.

        I suppose getting caught walking an unlicensed dog will also get you a hefty fine, and your dog will be confiscated. I wouldn't think that most municipalities in Israel have a lot of budget for paying people to check on dog licensing and enforcing the "clean after your dog" laws. Maybe this is one way to try to generate a new income stream for the municipality (people already pay for licensing their dogs)?

        The licensing issue is not really enforced, at least not in Haifa. As a responsible dog owner, I am glad to see this initiative. I hope it comes to Haifa soon.

    • by nbert (785663)
      You could also carry a bottle with a liquid containing DNA from a different dog. Whenever your dog leaves something behind you simply spray on it.

      It would be much easier to just pick it up, but imagine the fun when the city starts to look for dogs which don't even are in the same country. Maybe it will lead to the foundation of some sort of dog-interpol.

      Over here we don't have DNA tests (yet), but there are so many rules that I'm not considering buying a new dog when my 13 year old crossbreed dies. Hope
  • Let me guess... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Korey Kaczor (1345661)
    Just how many coupons do you think they honestly will give out? They'd probably just only check the DNA samples found on the ground because that generates revenue; they're honestly not going to use a costly procedure just to reward citizens. Actually, how much does DNA analysis of dog droppings cost? I'm skeptical that this will be done very often, as I believe DNA testing isn't really that cheap.
    • by magarity (164372)

      Coupons are a form of corporate advertising. Get the company who wants the coupons handed out to foot the bill for the DNA test. If there's any resistance, create a mandatory package deal where if one wants to advertise on city owned property (busses, etc) a sponsor must also do the dog poop analysis promotion.

    • Re:Let me guess... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Qubit (100461) on Thursday September 18, 2008 @12:47AM (#25050377) Homepage Journal

      When I was working on a grizzly bear census about a decade ago (it wasn't as dangerous as it sounds...), we collected tufts of hair from rub trees and scat.

      I think that doing the DNA workup on a hair sample was a bit more than the scat, but that both of them were at least $5, maybe $10 each. The census didn't have enough money to do it all up front, so they were stashing samples in freezers while they tried to get more grant money.

      Prices may have gone done since then, but I'd guess that doing a sample on each dog crap is going to take a lot of time and money. And besides, don't they imagine that people are going to put the dog crap from their yard into the boxes as well? I mean, if you get a toy or something each time, aren't people going to load the boxes up?

  • . I wonder what sin you had to commit in a previous life

    Actually I think whosoever is doing this accumulates 10 x the good karma normal people accumulate in one life-time.

    One gets used to it - think about a coroner job....
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by largesnike (762544)
      Possible sins committed in previous life

      1. invented those little sticky lables that go on fruit
      2. invented advertising
      3. invented reality tv
      4. being George Lucas (I mean he's gotta pay for Jar-Jar Binks)
      5. being any RIAA lawyer
      6. and finally (for special irony) being a fundamentalist ideologue of any stripe
  • by stretch0611 (603238) on Thursday September 18, 2008 @12:42AM (#25050337) Journal

    As far as I am concerned, this is an invasion of privacy.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by OrangeTide (124937)

      Agreed, we need less government interference in my dog's rectum.

    • by Vombatus (777631) on Thursday September 18, 2008 @01:23AM (#25050689)
      As far as I am concerned, this is an invasion of privacy.

      Yeah, keep your nose out of my business!!!

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by supernova_hq (1014429)
      If you're so worried about your privacy, then don't go to the vet's and get the swab done. Better yet, DON'T LEAVE YOUR DOG'S SHIT LAYING AROUND!
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by demiurge11 (898886)

      As far as I am concerned, this is an invasion of privacy.

      Do *you* like stepping on dog crap? I certainly don't. I think using doggy DNA testing to catch bad neighbors that let their dogs poop all over the place is a public service. Furthermore, dogs don't have a right to privacy. In general, municipalities already match owner to dog via licenses, so there is no additional loss of privacy here.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Born2bwire (977760)

      An abandoned, steaming and odoriferous object in plain view (and smell) on a public street has claims of privacy? Please tell me more.

    • by Seraphim1982 (813899) on Thursday September 18, 2008 @01:59AM (#25050937)

      It would seem to me someone who was worried about their privacy being violated by dog shit wouldn't have left said dog shit laying around in public.

      • by PMuse (320639)

        Insightful? Folks, you're looking at this from the wrong end.
         
        To be sure, there is no invasion of privacy in testing dog shit left around in public.
         
        The invasion comes when every dog must be DNA profiled to be permitted to live in the city. How long before the same is true of every human in the city?

    • by Urkki (668283) on Thursday September 18, 2008 @02:08AM (#25050993)

      No it's not. If you leave your dog's poop on a public place, it's free game for any DNA analysis or whatever.

      You might argue that owning a dog is a matter of privacy and should not require a permit or anything (with which I disagree with, and will elaborate if you want). But if you come to me claiming that a pile of shit left on a public place is your private property, I'll ask if you're insane... :-)

    • by Dhalka226 (559740)
      I agree. I can't believe anybody would violate that poor dog's privacy!
  • by Renraku (518261)

    How about spending money on something with a better cost-benefit ratio? Like free designer flu-masks for the sick? Turning all water fountains into GOOD filtered water rather than shitty chlorine water?

  • Cigarette butts (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spyder-implee (864295) on Thursday September 18, 2008 @12:53AM (#25050439)
    They should do this with people who smoke and drop their cigarette butts on the ground.
  • by TheModelEskimo (968202) on Thursday September 18, 2008 @01:02AM (#25050509)
    Save up like a MONTH of your dog's poo. Then go around spooning it into these containers. Get fido's mouth swabbed, and watch as all the alarms at the veterinarian's office go off. Oy vey! We have a winner!
    • If you're willing to go through that much effort and poop storage, you deserve the rewards.
  • Looks like it's another city to add to Triumph's blacklist.

    Now I can just imagine irate neighbors taking poop and planting them to get their neighbors in trouble.

    Also...wonder how this will affect that dog-poop in the mail business.

    Wait...the DNA sampling is "voluntary" right? It's not required to register your dog's DNA?

    btw, the mainstream news had a segment on it.

    • by mpe (36238)
      Looks like it's another city to add to Triumph's blacklist.

      You mean that being in a country which has been a "war zone" more or less since it came into existance dosn't already qualify?

      Now I can just imagine irate neighbors taking poop and planting them to get their neighbors in trouble.

      All you'd need would be a sample of the dog's DNA.
      There's also the possibility of people trying to seed the "poop bins" in order to get more freebies.
      • by MoFoQ (584566)

        or use exlax

        no....triumph will poop on anything...if he can get away with it.

  • by Duncan Blackthorne (1095849) on Thursday September 18, 2008 @01:20AM (#25050663)
    Having solved all other problems within their country, Israel turns it's attention and taxpayer dollars towards the onerous problem of DOG SHIT.

    As I said, you've got to be kidding me. Isn't DNA analysis still kind of expensive?

    • by MagusSlurpy (592575) on Thursday September 18, 2008 @01:45AM (#25050855) Homepage
      No, it's actually quite cheap, and easy (I teach an undergrad general bio lab where they do DNA comparisons, and believe me, if it cost anything, the school wouldn't pay for undergrads to do it). The DNA Who's-My-Daddy labs just charge a lot, because they can (or because they get government contracts). Just like cell phone providers and text messaging fees.
      • OK, for the moment I'll say I believe you on the cost issue, because for the moment I can't refute what you're saying. Still, this seems like way, way overkill for a simple problem. Seriously, couldn't they come up with a more down-to-earth solution? Or are there really so many pet dogs livng in ths suburb of Tel Aviv, making it such a huge public health issue that they have to go to this sort of extreme? I have a hard time believing that.
    • by rrohbeck (944847) on Thursday September 18, 2008 @02:45AM (#25051201)

      Actually we could use something like that in SoCal's parks. There isn't a single day when I don't see new dog turds on my usual running route. This is despite huge signs tha tell you to pick up after your dog, free plastic bag dispensers and large trash cans everywhere.
      Many dog owners are assholes, that's the only way I can see it. Tax the hell out of them and pay somebody to clean up the dog shit.

    • by DavidD_CA (750156)

      There's a lot of damage done to the underlying grass from poo.

      With enough creative accounting, it's possible this actually saves them money.

      • Which Grass are you referring to?
        Plus, i thought dogs and cattle did not have blood groups like humans and chimps. They have blood family groups, but no A1B positive kinda stuff. They have A,B,C i guess although this is irrelevant for DNA testing.
        Israelites have too much time on their hands i guess. As if they have solved the problem of jerusalem, golan heights, baby kidnappings, settlements, right-wing nut jobs, left-wing crackpots, middle-wing sufferers, etc.
        Seriously, Israel should spend this money on so

        • by DavidD_CA (750156)

          This isn't Israel doing it. It's a city within Israel.

          An employee who works for the government had an idea and made it happen. That employee probably couldn't solve the whole war thing, so figured they'd do this instead.

          I can't cure cancer, but that doesn't mean I can't do my part to make the world a better -- or less poopy -- place.

    • Having solved all other problems within their country, Israel turns it's attention and taxpayer dollars towards the onerous problem of DOG SHIT. As I said, you've got to be kidding me. Isn't DNA analysis still kind of expensive?

      Not that this is the way I'd like my tax money to be spent, but this is probably just a city investment in fostering a local budding biotech industry. A private company might even provide such a service at a loss -- just so that it could get the press -- and the credit for having do

    • by S3D (745318) on Thursday September 18, 2008 @05:28AM (#25052051)
      And I can assure you that dog poop is quite a problem here. There is a lot of small children on the outside and dog poop is more immediate danger to them than occasional suicidal bomber.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by plasmacutter (901737)

        And I can assure you that dog poop is quite a problem here. There is a lot of small children on the outside and dog poop is more immediate danger to them than occasional suicidal bomber.

        obviously the suicide bombers have to up their game a bit if the general populace considers dog poop to be a greater threat.

        maybe they should invent a new type of "dirty bomb".

        they may even make suicide bombing a green profession, allowing you to re-use your martyrs because there were no nails ripping them in half.

      • by dbcad7 (771464)
        There is a difference between nuisance and "danger".. More street cops to catch people in the act seems a better solution (as they could solve other problems).. The punishment aspect, is where they can really make a difference, if they make offenders caught do community service, by picking up after other offenders, as well as just general litter.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by winterice (1172013)

      Having solved all other problems within their country, Israel turns it's attention and taxpayer dollars towards the onerous problem of DOG SHIT.

      As I said, you've got to be kidding me.

      Well, there's the government who's job is to handle things like war and peace, intercity roads, and fiscal policy. And there's the municipality who's job is to make sure that you have nice parks and that you don't step in dog poo. This is how a country operates.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Begemot (38841)

      Can I guess - you have never been to Israel, have you?

      1. It's not Israel the country, but a single rather small city within Israel, with their own INDEPENDENT budget
      2. As someone already responded, DNA tests are quite cheap, especially in Israel
      3. It's just so typically arrogant to assume that you understand better than a the people who decided to do it, a bit of credit man...
      4. In Israel we use shekels, not dollars (see #3)

      Cheers,
      Anton.

    • As a US taxpayer, I'd say my money has been well spent. ;)
  • I wonder what sin you had to commit in a previous life to find yourself the official dog poop examiner of Petah Tikva, Israel.

    Why, isn't it obvious? You'd have to be the sort of person who keeps posting these idle articles to the front page.

    • by PhilHibbs (4537)

      If you don't like Idle, then TURN IT OFF IN YOUR PREFERENCES. (If you can't see the Save button, just keep tabbing)

  • DNA testing has become so cheap that:

    1) vet's can keep DNA records of pets; and

    2) cities find it economical to enforce poop-scoop laws by DNA testing dog shit.

    Sheesh.

  • This is absurd! What the hell does this kind of DNA testing cost anyway? If it's in the article I'll never know because I'm NOT reading an article about DNA sampling of shit for the purpose of issuing fines. Moronic idea. This government must have a lot of money to blow (or be willing to force it's citizens to pay up big for stupidity)

  • The security industry of Israel is renowned the world over. As soon as they have proved the concept on dog poop, they'll have a market to sell it to other countries, for dogs, and probably long pig as well.

    Some of me thinks that this is just a trial of a technique to raise the public acceptance of ubiquitous DNA testing. Some of me thinks it may be an exercise in raising the public FEAR of ubiquitous DNA testing. You'd only have to try a dozen cases or so and soon everyone will be a-scoopin' that poop.

    Yet a

  • There was a movie where this dude from the 1700's traveled through time and came to present-day New York. While walking a dog that took a dump, a police officer asked him to clean it up. He said, "Do you mean to tell me there is a law compelling gentlemen to remove canine feces?" And for the life of me, I can't remember the name of that movie.
  • by papasui (567265)
    While this isn't the first time I've comtenplated taking a deuce in my neighbors yard, it is the first time I've considered going to Israel to do it.
  • Right? Please tell me it is...

  • this is the most serious problem in israel today? what a waste of resources

  • because sequencing the DNA of a pile of hot dogshit is still more important than addressing the palistinian occupation.
  • Wrong dept (Score:3, Funny)

    by g0bshiTe (596213) on Thursday September 18, 2008 @08:51AM (#25053307)
    I think rather than the take-a-bite-out-of-crime dept.
    This one should have come from the i'll-get-you-my-pretty-and-your're-little-dog-too dept
  • I'm sorry, but doesn't Israel have bigger problems to worry about, like terrorist nations who want to exterminate the Jews and push them into the ocean? Aren't Arab states constantly lobbing missiles and sending suicide bombers over the border? In light of the constant threat of war, it seems silly to me that they're cracking down so hard on dog poop. Yes, dog doo in the street is annoying, but it's not something I'd ever want tax dollars spent on were I an Israeli citizen.

  • "In other news, vets will also be asking pet owners to provide a cheek swab..."

  • by CompMD (522020) on Thursday September 18, 2008 @12:36PM (#25056825)

    In Soviet Russia, Dog Poop Sniffs YOU!

Never test for an error condition you don't know how to handle. -- Steinbach

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