Ok, this story ran a few days ago, but I thought it would make good Sunday reading...
This past week, New York City more than doubled its fine to dog owners who don't clean up after their animals: from $100 to $250. It's the first time the fine has gone up since the infamous "pooper scooper law" took effect thirty years ago. Read more in this NY Daily News article by Richard Schapiro.
While $250 may be a stiff enough penalty to persuade folks in most other cities to pack a plastic bag for walks, this is New York City we're talking about. Call me a skeptic (after all, I am a native New Yorker), but I'm not so sure it's gonna work.
If the City REALLY wants to get serious about tracking down offending poopsters and their owners, it oughta consider "Poo Prints", a new program apparently being offered by a Tennessee DNA laboratory. The basic idea is that everyone in a neighborhood, town or [insert geographic region here...] would be required to get their dog's DNA on file in the lab's registry. Then, any stray poop found on a street can be sent to the lab, analyzed and matched to an owner. Voila!
Really, could I make this up? I'm not even gonna try to take credit for finding this one. Thanks to Doug Powell of Kansas State's AnimalNet for unearthing this gem. (Doug, I have no idea how you find these things, but keep 'em coming!)
Of course, being a former journalist, I felt compelled to do a little more digging on this important news story. And unbelievably, according to likewise hard-hitting piece of journalism in the Holeycheese weblog, (photo courtesy of same), a city in Israel began a test program for poop identification last month. (How did I miss that?!)