Punishing Pet Owners for Not Picking Up

If you’ve been paying attention to the media lately, there are a number of rental properties all over the world taking punitive action against pet owners for not picking up after their dogs.

I read a post recently about a city that started doing DNA testing on dog waste found on public property. When they identified the pet owner, they mailed the waste to the owner. How sick is that?

And now, we have companies like PooPrints who maintain a DNA database of dogs and their owners. In the Courier Journal yesterday, Taylor Harrison wrote about the new pet waste policies at ParkSide at Riverpark Place apartment complex.

ParkSide has hired PooPrints to obtain a DNA sample from all of the pets in their complex. Each sample costs $50. Then, when a pet parent fails to pick up after their pets, the maintenance folks can send the sample in for testing. When the pet owner is identified, the apartment complex will slap them with a $275 fine. The idea behind this is obviously behavior modification through negative reinforcement.

The problem with this solution is that it costs the apartment complex and pet owners thousands of dollars without addressing the underlying issue. When pet owners don’t pick up after their pets, there’s a psychological reason behind it. Maybe they had a bad experience as a child or maybe it could simply be that poop grosses them out. It’s also possible that they don’t understand the severity of leaving dog poop on the ground.

If you want to change behavior, it’s better to do it through understanding. Negative reinforcement might be painful, but it seldom solves the problem.

The alternative to DNA testing is simple: hire a professional pooper scooper to clean the grounds. It’s far less expensive than paying for DNA samples and testing. There are several companies in the Louisville area that are available to do the dirty work. The result is clean grounds and happy tenants at a fraction of the cost.

Click here to read more about DNA testing at ParkSide

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