By Julie Watts

MILPITAS (KPIX) — A Bay Area apartment complex is turning to science to make sure pet owners pick-up after their dogs when their animals relieve themselves outside.

Milpitas resident Ambria Tate immediately picks up after her dog Scarlett when they go on walks.

“I’m always watching her,” said Tate.

She picks up the poo because it’s the right thing to do and because if they leave something behind, they’ll likely get caught.

Amalfi Apartments where they live is among the reportedly 1,800 apartment complexes using PooPrints, one of a growing number of doggie DNA tracking systems that match dog waste left behind by pet owners to the guilty party.

“It does help,” said Amalfi Apartments Business Manager Elena Sumintac. “It’s really simple to use. It’s a lot easier to manage and keep the place clean.”

Sumintac says all dogs get a cheek swab as soon as they move in.

Our maintenance team is really good at taking samples,” said Sumintac.

The dog’s DNA then goes into the building’s registry.

When poop pops up on the property, it can be tracked back to the owner.

“Once they kind of walk away, they think ‘Oh, nobody’s gonna know I did it,'” said Sumintac. “But then with this process, we’ll be able to track it and say ‘Hey, you’re the one who did this.'”

At Amalfi Apartments, the fine for a first time offense is $100. Tenants with three or more violations could face eviction.

The threat of that possible punishment seems to be working as a deterrent.

“I see people more actively pick up after their pets than other places I’ve lived,” said one tenant.

Still, some are poo-pooing the idea.

“It’s not always the owner’s mistake,” said another tenant. “Like sometimes, if he doesn’t see it, it’s not his mistake.”

Still, by making a business out of your dog’s business, PooPrints is putting pressure on dog owners to pick it up every time.

Managers at the Milpitas complex say the system isn’t foolproof. About 40 percent of the time, it can’t identify the culprit because what was left behind came from a pet that doesn’t live on the property.


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