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Dogs in this French town will have their DNA tested to crack down on poo problem

Béziers is planning a genetic register for dogs that would help track down owners who leave their poo behind.

Owners who leave dog poo in the street could soon be tracked down using a DNA database. The scheme is being trialled in the southern French town of Béziers.

It would require dog owners to have their pets genetically tested to allow authorities to link them to any excrement left on the street.

Local mayor Robert Ménard told France Bleu radio that people in the town were fed up with residents and visitors leaving dog faeces on the pavement. He said that Béziers is planning to trial the scheme for two years.

How would the DNA testing scheme work?

Owners would be required to carry a ‘genetic passport’ for their dog under the planned scheme. This would mean taking their pet to the vet or having a free saliva sample taken by the town’s veterinary specialists which would be tested and a document issued.

Dog excrement found on the streets would be collected and tested then sent to the police. They would match the DNA to national pet registers, locate the owner and charge them up to €122 for cleaning up the streets.

Owners found not to be picking up their dog's poo could be fined up to €122. Unsplash

People who are stopped walking their dog in specific areas without a passport would also be fined €38.

Similar schemes have already been trialled in the Spanish city of Valencia, Tel Aviv in Israel and some parts of London.

Béziers mayor ‘fed up’ with dog mess

Ménard told the French radio station that the city’s cleaning service picks up more than 1,000 pieces of dog faeces every month.

“I’m fed up with all this dog mess. The state has done nothing, we need to penalise people so that they behave properly,” he said.

The Béziers mayor first tried to introduce a similar scheme in 2016 but a register of dog DNA was rejected by local courts as an attack on personal freedom.

But the register was not removed from the plan and the new decree was passed on 12 May this year. After going unopposed for two months, “the two-year experiment can now begin,” the mayor explained.

Ménard said that there should still be some leniency for tourists or those who don’t normally live in the town. There will also be a three-month grace period when the €122 will not be enforced.

Posted on 20 Jul 2023 13:22 link