Poo patrol: Dog DNA tests used to catch irresponsible owners

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ST. LOUIS — A St. Louis apartment complex is using an unconventional method to nab dog owners who refuse to scoop up their pet’s poo.

Jake and Kayla Bearden moved to the Galley 1014 Luxury Apartments in downtown St. Louis with their four-legged pals, Dewey and Dog. Among the luxury amenities are pooper scoopers and bags for pet waste.

“So, there’s really no excuse to not pick it up,” said Jake Bearden.

Mike Kueker, the apartment complex’s district manager, said the staff informs all prospective tenants of the pet poo policy. Dog owners must register their pets with a cheek swab. The sample is then sent to PooPrints, a lab in Knoxville, Tennessee, where they collect pet DNA samples.

“At first their reaction is, ‘Are you serious? You can do that?’” said PooPrints CEO J Retinger, who founded the company in 2010.

If pet waste isn’t picked up, the apartment staff collects a sample and sends it to PooPrints to identify the culprit.

“We had a scientist that was actually living in an apartment complex that was riddled with dog poo,” said Retinger. “She thought to herself, ‘Can we figure out who’s not picking up after their pet?’ From there, our PooPrints program was born.”

It now has 6,000 customers worldwide. From municipalities and dog parks to campgrounds and apartment complexes, Retinger says business is barking.

“We get hundreds of pieces of poo in the mail a day. Bags and bags,” said Retinger.

The Gallery Apartments has a three-strike policy. First-time offenders are fined, while repeat offenders can have their pet privileges pulled.

“Having Poo Prints really helped with that because we weren’t having to go through video footage to try to find somebody or just giving up on it and just doing it ourselves,” said Kueker.

Kueker said he’s mostly received positive feedback from tenants about the policy.

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