The DNA of Dog Poop

Now that's what I call science

So much of what scientists study seems so esoteric. So impractical. So far removed from humdrum daily life. Stem cells? Black stars? Dinosaur bones? But then, every once in a while, those scientists come roaring through with a discovery whose implications are literally life-changing. This story is about such a discovery: finally, a scientific method of discovering whose freaking dog has been leaving those fat, stinky logs on your front sidewalk EVERY GODDAMN NIGHT.

That’s right. It’s dog-poop DNA.

The PooPrints System—you pay $29.99 for a swab kit, 10 bucks more for a vial in which to securely send samples, and $50 for the DNA analysis—is the brainpuppy of BioPet Vet Lab in Knoxville, Tennessee, which maintains a worldwide data bank of canine DNA. (Franchises available!) For now, it’s mostly apartment complexes making use of the technique—as this Herald-Tribune story reports, several dozen such complexes across the country are requiring tenants with dogs to submit their pups’ poop to the database. When complex managers find wayward droppings, they can send them to BioPet for testing and then assess fines on the STINKING PIGS WHO DON’T CLEAN UP AFTER THEIR DOGS, AND SOMEDAY I’M GONNA CATCH YOU IN THE ACT.

The story quotes one apartment manager who isn’t on board with the testing as saying she finds it a little extreme. That’s the attitude of someone who hasn’t STEPPED RIGHT IN A PILE OF DOG SHIT UPON WALKING OUT THE FRONT DOOR ON MORE THAN ONE MORNING. Me, I’m thinking of moving to the city of Petah Tikva in Israel, where dog-owners have been required to register their pets’ DNA in a municipal database since 2008. This is the first I’ve heard of Petah Tikva, but it seems like a wonderful place. Its name actually means “opening of hope,” which … well, let’s not dwell on that. It just seems like the sort of city where everything would come out all right in the end. Philly, too, could be such a city. Citizens, raise your scoops on high! Mayor Nutter, here’s your chance at immortality. Let’s make it work: doggie DNA!