Southend Borough Council's dog poo DNA database 'unenforceable'

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Proposals to create a DNA database to track down those guilty of dog fouling have been rejected by a local council.

The plans by Southend Borough Council's Conservative leader Tony Cox would have seen dog poo forensically examined to locate the animal's owner.

But the idea was rejected as the council does not have the power to make taking swab DNA samples compulsory.

Councillor Carole Mulroney said the authority should consider "additional targeting of hot spot areas".

The scheme would have been similar to DNA testing on criminals, with results from swabs taken from dogs logged into a database used to link dog poo to owners, who could face a fine for failing to clean up.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service said Mr Cox and fellow Tory councillor Alex Bright tabled the motion after describing owners failure to pick up their pets' excrement as "one of the most unacceptable and offensive types of litter on our streets".

But Ms Mulroney, Liberal Democrat cabinet member for the environment, said: "I think there is a way to do dog DNA but that is with compulsory registration coming from government - having owners get swabbing done the same time as they do microchipping.

"If dogs were swabbed at the same time as the microchipping, then you would have a national database which would allow you to track the dogs.

"Until that comes about we are looking at improving our detection rates using means we already have in-house so that we can target hot spots as well as getting the message to vets, kennels and dog walkers."

Southend is not the first council to consider a dog poo DNA database - three years ago the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham Council introduced a pilot scheme to tackle the issue.

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