Fighting smelly streets with DNA
Who knew scooping poop could be so rewarding
Oct 22, 2008
Almost everyone knows the cringe-worthy feel of stepping on a pile of fresh dog poop. Well, residents of Petah Tikva, Israel, can walk more freely through the streets now that city officials are using science to address the issue—and potentially saving a few pairs of shoes in the process.
Illustration by Erin Terry
The city has launched a six-month trial program that asks residents to take their dogs to a veterinarian, who swabs the pooch's mouth to collect DNA. The DNA is then used in a database aimed at matching feces to dog and identifying each dog's owner. Owners who pick up their dog's droppings and deposit them in specially marked bins will be eligible for rewards of pet food coupons and dog toys. Droppings left in the street could earn the dog's owner a municipal fine. The city will consider requiring DNA samples from all dogs if the trial run is successful. So far, residents are responding positively to the program—and enjoying the clean streets.