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Wanted: Naughty dog owner warning - DNA will give your pooch away

By Claire McNeilly

Published 14/07/2016

Irresponsible dog owners who refuse to clean up after their pets have been warned that DNA technology will be used to track them down.

And there is no point in trying to blame someone else's pet for the mess because the PooPrints system does not lie.

Dog fouling has been the bane of pedestrians, councils and other dog owners for decades.

For some time, prominent signs warning about fines have been the only visible deterrent against the perennial problem.

But now, high-tech naming and shaming could be on its way here, courtesy of a company that specialises in identifying the four-legged foulers and their two-legged owners.

Companies including Streetkleen are bringing detection technology usually associated with more serious crime to the world of dog-walkers.

An image of the face and a frighteningly accurate general description of the canine offender can be gleaned from the DNA of the unsightly mess that they leave behind.

This, in turn, can be published on lamp-posts and council newsletters - a gallery of 'pugshots' that will surely drive positive behavioural change.

"We identify the sex, coat, colour, mask etc, enabling a picture of the dog to be displayed in the areas where they have offended", said Streetkleen managing director Gary Downie.

"He added that the England-based company was already in discussions with Northern Ireland councillors about introducing the PooPrints technology.

"We've had a lot of interest from councils across Northern Ireland, from Belfast to Derry," Mr Downie explained. "Indeed, representatives from Mid Ulster Council and Derry and Strabane District Council attended our recent seminar. Our pilot scheme, conducted in collaboration with Barking and Dagenham, shows the positive behaviour change PooPrints can drive - a 50% reduction in fouling - making our cities smarter and our public spaces safer."

Mr Downie is now in talks with Belfast City Council about trialling PooPrints in Northern Ireland, and they also have plans to involve Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful in future projects.

Responsible owners who would have no worries about their beloved pet leaving an unwanted 'message', could register their dogs for DNA as a matter of course, ruling them out as suspects while reducing the likelihood they would ever foul up.

And what non-registered owner would like to see naughty old Fido's face on any future gallery of shame?

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