Dog poo DNA test approved in Alresford

media captionAlresford to introduce DNA testing of dog poo

DNA testing of dog poo has been backed by a parish council in a bid to stop fouling in an Essex village.

Residents of Alresford, near Colchester, have reported a "persistent" problem of dog owners not picking up faeces.

The parish council will foot the £80-120 bill for DNA testing of excrement and swabbing of suspect dogs.

The Kennel Club has questioned whether it would work, as owners' consent for swabbing would not be compulsory.

image copyrightFrank Belgrove
image captionFrank Belgrove circled these examples of dog waste outside the Station Road parade of shops in Alresford

A register of DNA taken from swabs will be used to try and match the culprit via a sample from the faeces.

Frank Belgrove, chairman of the council, said a "minority of persistent offenders" were causing the problem.

"It's happening outside the primary school, both parades of shops and in the community garden," he said.

"We hope it's a deterrent, but we'll have to wait and see if it works."

Mr Belgrove said dog owners could refuse to let their animals be swabbed, but if there was other evidence it "could work against them in court".

'Irresponsible minority'

In a statement, dog owners' group the Kennel Club said: "It would be difficult to make this compulsory and enforceable, which would likely mean only responsible owners, who already picked up after their dogs, would register.

"The irresponsible minority who do not pick up would simply continue to flout the law."

The London Borough of Barking and Dagenham Council has a pilot scheme to test dog poo for DNA, which could be matched against a database of owners.

Registering dogs is voluntary for owners but microchipping will be required by law from April.

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