Does your community have a dog poop problem? Is your development littered with unpicked-up dog poo? One of the most frustrating things you can experience as a homeowner is walking around your neighborhood and stepping in dog poop. As a Homeowner's Association (HOA) or Community Manager, dealing with this hassle is a major headache. For years, HOAs have been trying to come up with ways to get pet owners to clean up after their furry companions on walkways and shared open spaces. Now, thanks to advancements in technology, HOAs are turning to a new solution - poop DNA kits! But, how do these kits work and should your HOA use them to combat pet waste in your community?
Dog Poop DNA Tests - Excuse Me, What?
If you've never heard of dog poop DNA kits, don’t worry you are not alone. While still a relatively new development in pet waste management, the idea behind these kits is quite simple. These companies have the ability to match the DNA found in dog poop to the DNA of the dog that left the poop in order to help HOAs identify the culprits of abandoned pet waste. Residents in a community utilizing this service must submit a sample of their dog’s DNA upon moving in by collecting saliva with a cotton swab. The swab is sent to the company’s laboratory where the genetic information of each pet is kept in a database. When a sample of poop is found, it is sent to the laboratory where it is matched to the dog's saliva DNA profile. This process allows HOAs to identify which dog [owner] is leaving their business around the neighborhood.
HOA Fines for Dog Poop
Once identified, the HOA can send the owner(s) a friendly reminder (or warning) about cleaning up after their pets. If the problem persists, then the HOA may escalate and fine the resident. The goal is that these fines will discourage dog owners from leaving their pet’s poo behind and encourage them to be more responsible in picking it up. Less dog poop in the community means happier residents and a safer and more inviting environment. Instead of picking up poop, the HOA can focus more time and funds on landscaping and general upkeep that make the community a better place.
Things to Keep in Mind
If you are an HOA or community manager considering using this type of service, there are a few things to keep in mind. Is the cost of the service worth it and will it produce results? Besides the initial cost of implementing this service and creating a pet DNA database, each time a stray poop sample is sent in by the HOA, there is a cost. This cost can be balanced by the collection of fines against culpable pet owners. Another consideration is how to ensure that all community members register their pets in the database. In apartment complexes or smaller condo communities, it may be easier to keep track of who has a dog, while in larger developments and neighborhoods, it may be less feasible to keep tabs. What if a non-resident happened to walk their pet in your community and leave behind their business? These mystery piles of poo will have no DNA match in the database, yet still cost you to send in.
Can the HOA Do Anything About Dog Poop?
If your community is not quite ready to go to the extreme of Dog Poop DNA services, there are other alternatives that can be considered or tried first. Instead, post signs around the community or property about picking up after your dog. If you choose to implement a fine for residents caught not picking up pet poop, it should be explicitly communicated to all residents. Send out a mailer or include a statement in a community newsletter. Another highly effective tactic is to install pet waste stations around the community. These stations include pet poop bags and trash cans to make it simple and convenient for residents to pick up after their dogs. Finally, HOAs can consider commercial pet poop management from companies like DoodyCalls. DoodyCalls provides a wide variety of product and service offerings from pet waste bags to common area waste removal. We work with you to provide our recommendation for a comprehensive pet waste management solution to keep your community clean and residents happy.
At the end of the day, dog poop is an unpleasant problem that can tarnish the overall aesthetic of your community. While using dog poop DNA tests might seem like a drastic solution, it is important to weigh all your options. Before investing in DNA testing, HOAs should consider alternatives like pet poop stations, signs, fines, and commercial pet poop services. A clean community will not only look great, but it will also make for happier residents!