Tel Aviv Latest City to Require Pet Owners to Register Dog DNA So Droppings Can Be Tracked

Tel Aviv became the latest city to require dog DNA to be submitted by pet owners in order for the city to track un-scooped droppings.

The samples will need to be provided by the owners when they go to get or renew a pet license.

"The initiative is part of a long-running campaign to tackle the minority of dog owners who don't pick up their mess," Eytan Halon, a spokesperson for the municipality, told Newsweek. "One in 11 Tel Aviv residents have a dog, and a small minority do not collect the waste."

The initiative will allow the city to collect and test droppings left around Tel Aviv. The testing would reveal which owner failed to pick up after their dog, and the city would mail the owner a fine. The fine would also include the cost of sampling and testing, Halon said.

Campaigns like the one launched in April attempted to reduce the amount of pet waste in the streets, but all of the responsible owners could not be held accountable.

"The municipality, for its part, has worked hard to eradicate the issue of collecting feces, by distributing tickets to dog owners, placing bag collection facilities in gardens and parks and establishing dozens of dog parks throughout the city—but this does not diminish dog owners' responsibility to keep the public space clean," a municipality representative told The Jeruselum Post.

The Tel Aviv-Jaffa City Council approved the initiative on Monday, but it is awaiting the approval of the Interior Ministry. Amendments to the municipality's bylaws require the Interior Ministry, according to Halon.

"The municipality believes that through the information, enforcement and cooperation of all the city's residents, there will be an improvement in this issue, for the sake of the quality of life in the city," the representative said.

Woman Walks Dog in Tel Aviv
A new initiative in Tel Aviv will allow the city to require dog DNA to be submitted by pet owners in order for the city to track un-scooped droppings. A woman walks her dog in the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv on April 19. Menahem Kahana

Tel Aviv is one of many cities enforcing DNA collection and sample testing. Leitrim County in Ireland started a similar campaign in late April to address the problem and help clean up the streets.

Apartment complexes in Utah introduced the testing earlier this year, and Colorado apartments have used the system since 2019. The Salt Lake Tribune reported some Utah renters were fined up to $150 after their pet's un-scooped waste was sampled and traced back to them.

A research lab in Knoxville, Tennessee, called "PooPrints" opened commercially in 2011 to track pet waste for communities such as the complexes and neighborhoods of Colorado and Utah. The company currently services Leitrim County's initiative. According to their website, the lab has serviced over 6,000 communities to cut down on pet waste left in the streets.

PooPrints CEO J. Retinger told Newsweek the communities that work with the lab have seen up to a 95 percent decrease in animal waste.

"Dog waste has become the hidden pandemic in communities," Retinger said. "We've had a vision for safer communities backed by science since we pioneered DNA dog waste management in 2008. We're thrilled to finally see cities around the globe adopting DNA technology that will keep their green spaces clean and citizens safe. DNA accountability is the only enforceable method to keep dog owners accountable and I fully believe we will continue to see this trend grow across the globe."

Updated 07/13/2021, 5:18 p.m. ET: This story has been updated with a statement from PooPrints CEO J. Retinger.