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Genetic waste

Tel Aviv will test dog poop DNA to fine owners who don’t clean up

City council approves setting up database, obligating owners to submit their pets’ DNA details when receiving license

A man walks dogs in the south Tel Aviv neighborhood of Florentine, on November 6, 2018. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)
A man walks dogs in the south Tel Aviv neighborhood of Florentine, on November 6, 2018. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)

Tel Aviv has found an innovative way of dealing with dog owners who don’t clean up after their pets in the city streets — testing the excrement’s DNA and sending a fine to the owner by mail.

The city council on Monday approved a motion setting up a DNA database and stating that dog owners will be required to submit their pets’ genetic details to authorities upon receiving or renewing a license, Hebrew-language media reported.

The validity of current dog licenses will expire six months after the new ruling takes effect, and new licenses won’t be approved unless owners give over the DNA details, the reports said.

The regulations won’t apply to guide dogs or to dogs kept by animal protection organizations.

“The amendment to the law was approved as part of the municipality’s persistent fight against the phenomenon of dog feces not being collected by their owners across the city,” the municipality said.

According to the city council, it had previously tried to hike fines on dog owners who did not clean up, but violations remained prevalent.

A woman walks her dog past a graffiti painted wall in the Neve Tzedek neighborhood of Tel Aviv. May 15, 2018. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

“The existence of a DNA database of dogs in the city will make it possible to perform samples for feces on the street, thus enforcing the law against the dog owner even after the offense has been committed, in a way that will address the main challenge in enforcing and eradicating the phenomenon,” the municipality said.

In April, the city launched a campaign that called on dog owners to clean up, after it found that there was a significant rise last year in complaints to the municipality over such incidents.

There were 6,766 calls and inquiries made to the city hall hotline over dog poop left in public spaces in 2020, according to the Ynet news site.

“The cleanliness of the public space is an integral part of the city’s appearance,” the municipality said.

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