High Touch Plus High Tech

Last week we talked about high touch pets as opposed to high tech gizmos, but this week we see how the two have recently been brought together in one, shall we say, unexpected fashion. Now that scientists have mapped the genetic code of dogs we’ve seen a few commercial bio-tech applications. For example, one can send off a sample of your pup’s unique DNA (a Q-Tip swab of the inner cheek is all it takes) to determine lineage: always wondered how your Chihuahua-sized dog ended up looking like a cross of a Great Dane and St. Bernard? The answer, we’re told, is now available. Dog paternity testing is also now available although I’m not sure exactly why we need it (can you picture the Star Wars scene in which the black-cloaked Labradoodle utters “Lassie, I am your father”..?).

Welcome to PooPrints, a Hawaiian-based company with an interesting solution to a smelly, messy problem. Intended for multiple housing units like town-homes and apartment buildings which allow dogs, each resident dog gets a cheek swabbed and every animal’s unique DNA is maintained at the lab. Now for the genius part. When an unwanted poop is discovered in the hallway or grassy areas, a sample is sent off to the lab and, as their website brags, the housing management is provided with “Undeniable Accountability.” (pooprintshawaii.com is worth checking out for the photos alone!) The typical plan calls for the offending dog’s owners to be fined and, if a repeat offender, perhaps even eventually evicted.

Joking aside (admittedly not easy to do), it is a shame but nonetheless a reality that many humans are less than responsible and animal feces is not a fun unexpected “discovery.” From reports it appears that even just announcing this program achieves some of the desired goal, with people cleaning up after their animals to avoid the potential consequences. While it’s disappointing that it might take a threat to get some people to do the right thing, that’s certainly not the fault of the dogs.


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