on dog fouling in Burnham sees council consider DNA testing
problem of pavement dog fouling in Burnham-On-Sea could be tackled
with DNA testing of waste, it's emerged this week.
Burnham-On-Sea.com has reported on the problem of dog owners
letting their pets foul streets and pavements many times during
recent years, and residents have seen an upsurge in the issue
in recent months.
Sedgemoor District Council has therefore been considering the
use of high-tech DNA testing in a bid to prosecute dog owners.
Claire Faun, Sedgemoor District Council spokeswoman, told Burnham-On-Sea.com:
"There have been recent reports in the national media of
councils and parish councils using DNA testing on dog poo in order
for councils to prosecute owners. It should be noted that the
testing is done and the database is held by commercial companies."
"With the advent of all dogs being required by law to be
micro-chipped by April 2016, it would be seem to be a positive
way ahead. However, its not compulsory for owners to register
their DNA at the same time, although they can choose to do so
by either a cheek swab."
"Any dog poo that is not picked up can be subsequently tested
and if it matches, then a fine can be issued. Each DNA test costs
in the region of £70/80 which presumably council-tax payers
would have to subsidise."
is suggested that any responsible dog owner who go to the trouble
of supplying a DNA sample of the dogs blood and is aware
that their dogs DNA is on record are more than likely to
be the owners who already pick up. Anecdotal evidence
from across the country shows that owners who let their dogs poo
anywhere are unlikely to voluntarily register its DNA."
She added: "Unless there was a comprehensive DNA database
of dogs to compare results against, its effectiveness would be
severely limited. Some urban councils are making it compulsory
for dogs to have their DNA registered to be able to use their
parks; ID is by way of a collar tag. This would be impractical
in a rural or beach situation; and there is the added cost of
policing the dog tags."
"With so many dogs visiting Burnham-On-Sea with holidaymakers;
it would be additionally difficult to match against local results,
unless there was a national scheme."
Claire Faun explained: "Sedgemoor has done initial investigations,
and whilst any help for the dog wardens in combatting irresponsible
dog owners is welcomed, this approach is not seen as practicable
at present. However, the council is keeping a watching eye on
areas where this method is applied, so it can assess the impacts
in other areas of the UK."
"Until now, there has not been a commercial company providing
the evidence of any successful prosecutions anywhere in the UK.
Until there is evidence that this scheme works as a deterrent,
SDC will continue with its own methods of prevention."
"Sedgemoors view remains that dog owners should be
responsible for their dogs behaviour and dog poo and remove
it in a poo-bag, dispose of it in the bins provided or take it
home and put in the domestic refuse."
"Sedgemoors dog wardens have the highest prosecution
rate in Somerset and will continue to prosecute where they see
owners not picking up. Catching offenders red-handed and the issue
of fixed penalty notice and/or a visit to the court is seems to
be the best deterrent in our area."