Doggie DNA used to deter delinquent waste piles

Apartment complex to test all residents' dogs, fine owners

By Brian Mylar - Anchor/Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - Starting Friday, Mission Ranch Apartments in San Antonio, Texas will begin DNA testing all residents' dogs.

Once all the dogs have been tested, any waste found at the complex will also be tested, the offending dog identified by its DNA and its owner fined.

Property director Cindy Baker said the program is already working.

"Just by even bringing it up that we're starting this program, I've noticed that the pet waste on the ground is less than it was before," Baker said.

But one resident complained about the $30 charge for the initial test, the $150 fines and that this requirement is not on their lease.

At the McAllister Park dog park, other dog owners also weighed in. They agreed pet owners should be responsible, but disagreed about the fine.

"Charging $150 and charging someone to have their dog DNA tested for the complex is a little ridiculous," said dog owner Clover Street.

Stephanie Huppert agreed and said irresponsible owners are making it rough on those who aren't.

"We pick up after our dog -- that's our responsibility," Huppert said. But it's unfortunate when other people don't."

Mission Ranch is using a company called PooPrints, but DNA Reference Labs on the Northwest side can also DNA test dogs.

Dr. Ali Sali Ali said it is really not that hard.

He said high-tech instruments can determine dog DNA through feces and match it to a list of previously DNA tested dogs fairly quickly and cheaply.

"It's not really very difficult because the technology has been advanced so much," Salih said.

There are five waste stations around Mission Ranch and expectations are they will be used more fully from now on.

"Hopefully it'll be greener and safer and healthier for everybody," Baker said.

A resident here can refuse to participate in the program and not get their dog's DNA tested, but there is a $150 fine for that as well.

Residents also risk having their lease terminated.

Some say this requirement goes way too far. Others say if people had been picking up their dog's waste in the first place, it would not have come to this.

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