Israel is Testing Dog Poop DNA to Fine Owners Who Don’t Clean Up


Tel Aviv has announced its intention to set up a DNA database for dogs. Current dog licenses will remain valid for a period of six months once the new rule takes effect. However, dog owners won’t be able to get new dog licenses unless they are also willing to provide the relevant information for their dogs. There are a couple of categories that are exempt from the DNA database. One would be guide dogs. The other would be dogs kept by animal protection organizations.

Why Is Tel Aviv Setting Up a DNA Database?

There is no mystery about why Tel Aviv is resorting to this. Simply put, it has seen a surge in the number of incidents involving dog owners leaving dog poop in public spaces. Tel Aviv has already tried to curb this trend by increasing the fines imposed upon the violators. However, said measure hasn’t achieved the desired results, which is why the city is going for something more drastic instead. By having the DNA database, Tel Aviv will be able to use DNA testing to find the dogs responsible for the dog poop. After which, it will be a simple matter for them to impose the fines on the dog owners.

Why Is This So Important?

Perhaps unsurprisingly, cities have multiple reasons to encourage dog owners to pick up dog poop. For starters, dog poop is unsightly. That might not seem particularly important in the grand scheme of things. However, unsightliness is something that has a direct impact on a city’s image, which in turn, influences a wide range of factors. For example, a bad image makes it more difficult to either attract people or retain people. Similarly, a bad image makes the residents less satisfied with their lives. Both of which can have a huge effect on a city’s well-being.

Moving on, dog poop can also have a very detrimental effect on the surroundings. There is some awareness that both animal manure and human manure were once used as fertilizers. As a result, there are some people out there who have been known to defend their actions on the grounds that the dog poop will wind up fertilizing the land. However, this is a mistaken assumption, not least because the fertilization process using animal manure and human manure was more complicated than just tossing it all over the place. If anything, dog poop is bad for lawns because of its high-nitrogen content, so much so that it has been known to leave dead grass where green grass used to be. Even more concerningly, dog poop is a pollutant. In part, this is because it contains nutrients that can nourish unwanted life-forms. For instance, high nitrogen and high phosphorus content means that dog poop can cause both algae and weeds to flourish, which can choke out other forms of life in competitive environments. Simultaneously, dog poop can also cause pathogens to enter the water supply, thus enabling them to threaten not just dogs but also humans.

Speaking of which, some of those pathogens are extremely unpleasant. For example, dog poop can cause both soil and water to become contaminated with roundworms for years and years to come, thus making them potential vectors for the spread to dogs as well as humans. Interested individuals do not want to become infected with roundworms. After all, they can experience scarring as well as inflammation in the eyes because of the parasites’ presence. Moreover, roundworms are capable of attacking the human liver, the human lungs, and even the human nervous systems, all of which play important roles in human health and thus human happiness. Unfortunately, roundworms are far from being the only parasites that can make their way into humans because of dog poop. Another example would be whipworms that can cause nausea, vomiting, painful defecation, bloody diarrhea, and a number of most unpleasant symptoms. Similarly, hookworms are notorious for causing a painful, itchy rash when they make their way into the human body through the skin before proceeding towards the intestines.

On top of these, dog poop can contain other pathogens as well. Generally speaking, E. coli is extremely unpleasant but survivable. However, it is possible for some people to develop hemolytic uremic syndrome because of an E. coli infection, which can be fatal. Meanwhile, salmonella is also something that people will want to minimize their chances of getting, seeing as how it can result in fever, diarrhea, and stomach cramps. As for giardia, well, particularly bad infections in children can actually cause malnutrition, slow down their development, and inhibit both their physical and their mental growth. Of course, dog poop can also contain pathogens that are particularly problematic for dogs as well. For instance, the parvovirus is capable of killing dogs when they become infected with it. Something that can happen with disturbing ease because the pathogen combines two things. One, the parvovirus is extremely contagious. Two, the parvovirus is extremely hardy, so much so that it has been known to survive disinfectants. Never mind the fact that it can live for up to two years in the environment.

What Are Cities Doing to Increase Compliance in This Regard?

As such, it is no wonder that cities are resorting to all sorts of measures to get dog owners to pick up dog poop. In fact, it is important to note that Tel Aviv isn’t the first city to set up a DNA database for dogs. After all, Chicago has already implemented something similar. As such, Tel Aviv isn’t gambling on some kind of untested gimmick. Instead, it is going for something that has been proven to work. Something that makes a lot of sense on an intuitive level. Simply put, there are a number of major factors that can influence compliance rates with a particular rule. One would be the severity of punishment for offenders. However, even severe punishments mean very little unless the authorities can catch those who are responsible for the offenses, which is a serious issue when it comes to getting dog owners to pick up dog poop. A DNA database for dogs solves that in a single stroke, which makes it much better than some of the other alternatives that cities have tried. Certainly, it seems more practical than the hiring of detectives to actually track down offenders in the traditional manner.

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