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Dog-poop DNA testing raises stench with renters

Managers at a South Dakota apartment complex plans DNA testing to ID owners who don't their dogs' pick up poop. KDLT's Phil McIlrath reports.

It's a smelly job, but someone has to do it -- DNA-testing dog waste, that is.

Pet owners who fail to use the pooper-scooper at five apartment complexes in Sioux Falls, S.D., will no longer be able to make a clean getaway. A property-management company plans to DNA-test 200 canines in its pet-friendly complexes so waste left behind can be matched to the appropriate owners.

“Poo not only looks bad -- it’s an eyesore -- but it’s also a health risk to kids, other pets and even adults,” Lisa Liston, a property manager with Midwest Property Services, which runs about a dozen complexes in the Sioux Falls area, told msnbc.com on Monday.


Liston got the idea after receiving numerous tenant complaints and learning of apartment complexes in Minnesota and New Hampshire that have already started DNA testing. “If it happens once, it’s rare that they get a repeat offender,” she said.

A DNA sample will be collected from each dog on the property and sent  to an independent firm to be recorded.

"When they get a match ... they'll tell me dog DNA `XYZ' ... and we look it up on our chart, and we sa,y 'OK, that's Suzy Smith's dog,'" Liston told KDLT News in Sioux Falls. Violators will be fined $100, which will cover the cost of the kit and the test.

“We’re not going to make any money on it,” Liston told msnbc.com

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Not all residents are happy about the plan, which will cost dog owners $30 for the initial DNA testing.

“I pick up my dog’s mess every time he goes, so it would be nice if they would take it out of the deposit to have this done,” tenant Michelle Oakes told KDLT.

"To have to pay ourselves to have our dogs tested? We already have to pay to have them live here, so to have to pay some more to have their DNA tested was kind of crazy to us,"  Sena Peterson told the NBC affiliate.

Liston said the DNA sampling begins this week, and the company hopes to have all 200 dogs tested by the end of the month. She told msnbc.com that the goal of the program is to encourage pet owners to do the right thing:

“The majority of our tenants are responsible and they pick up,” she said. “It’s really just a few.”

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