DNA Testing to Bust Bad Dog Owners Is Becoming a Real Thing

DNA testing is not exactly brand-new—lawmakers have been using the crime-solving identification technique for years. Now, the technique is being used to identify dog owners who are leaving unscooped pooped on the streets of one Italian town, as reported by Life With Dogs TV.


Story goes that earlier this year, all of the dog owners in Malnate, Italy, were required to submit saliva samples or be fined $58. (Not an egregious amount, but still!) The goal was to identify every single dog owner in the hopes of reducing the amount of poop that quite literally littered the town’s streets.




“The deterrent effect is considerable. Knowing that the local dogs are now recognizable has led many of their masters to behave civilly and the sidewalks are cleaner,” Giuseppe Riggi, Malnate’s environmental commissioner, recently told reporters. “At the same time, pet owners thank us because now the other citizens look at them with less distrust.” And with over 2,000 registered dogs—and that number continues to rise annually—it only became all the more imperative to address the unenforceable rules behind fining dog owners for unscooped poop.


A total of 12 samples has been collected from sidewalk “evidence” thus far. Nine of them yielded usable DNA samples. After cross-referencing with the town’s database, seven matches were made — and seven owners fined. What’s more, Malnate has received requests from 83 other municipalities across Italy about the program.

“They are only waiting to see if the fines will pay for the costs,” said Riggi.


Photo: Marcus Cramer on Unsplash

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Rachel Zoldan

Rachel Jacoby Zoldan is a freelance writer and editor living in New York City with her husband two cats, Gerry and Cookie. (Who are, yes, named after a film about dogs.)

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