It’s a problem that has long caused a stink between stratas and pet owners: how to crack down on those who don’t pick up their dog’s waste.
Now a strata in Burnaby is bringing in a Toronto-based company that uses DNA to pinpoint problem pooches.
PooPrints Canada has set up shop at the Affinity in the 2200 block of Douglas Road. Their mission: to collect a DNA sample from every dog in the building.
The strata’s amended bylaws require those samples to be collected with the building manager present, with owners on the hook for a one-time $60 registration fee.
Once those samples are collected, the strata can use them to match any poop left behind by an owner in order to levy fines.
“You have individuals who want to know there is a pet-friendly (building), but they want to know there are expectations that are being fulfilled so they feel comfortable living in their pet-friendly environment,” PooPrints Canada president Garry Bradamore said.
“I’d say 80 per cent of all the (pet owners) we register, they’re just as happy to have an accountability program for their community as everybody else.”
If dog waste is found, the building manager or person who picks up the poop can send a sample in a provided small bottle to the PooPrints lab in Toronto for testing, Bradamore said. A result is then sent back within two weeks.
Any penalties against the offending owner would be made up of cleaning costs and administrative fees incurred by the building, along with the cost of sending the sample and getting the result, he added.
Bradamore said the company worked with law firm in Toronto to ensure the program is both free to landlords and mandatory for all owners with pets, who are the ones who pay the one-time fee.
He said stratas are able to enforce the company’s rules as bylaws, at no cost to the board.
In a letter to Affinity residents quoted in a PooPrints press release, strata agent Joseph Tsang said the program was being introduced as a way to both accommodate pet owners and crack down on dog waste scofflaws.
“We truly love our pets at Affinity,” Tsang wrote. “We’re confident the success of this program will enable us to continue to allow pets, while keeping our community grounds clean and healthy.”
But not all dog owners are on board with the idea.
“I think it’s just common sense to pick up after your dog,” said Tanya Larizza, who doesn’t live in Affinity.
“If you have that much time to do DNA on dog feces, you should have better things to do with your life.”
Holly Collins called the idea “interesting,” adding pet-friendly buildings like the one she lives in all have issues with dog waste being left behind.
“I know (my strata) tries to catch people,” she said. “People will also pick it up and then throw the bags into places that aren’t garbage cans. So that’s a problem too.”
Collins said she wouldn’t mind having her dog in a DNA database, “as long as I don’t have to pay for it.”