Service of DNA to Train Pet Owners

August 6th, 2015

Categories: Dogs, Entitlements, Pets, Spoiled

 

My nephew Barry at the vet.

My nephew Barry at the vet.

My idea of capturing DNA off garbage tossed on otherwise pristine country roads isn’t as farfetched as I once thought [though I haven’t yet figured out the part about matching/connecting it to the perpetrators’ genetic footprint.]

The board of a Brooklyn condo with about 440 apartments, One Brooklyn Bridge Park, did a similar thing. Some owners of 175 dog residents allowed their furry charges to defecate and urinate in public indoor spaces leaving it up to staff to clean up, ignoring countless pleas to stop. As a result tenants now have to register each pet for $35, DNA is taken, checked against traces found and fees meted out.

Dog puppyIn December 2014 building staff recorded the number and types of incidents, according to Ginia Bellafante reporting in her New York Times article “Using DNA to Fight Dog Owners’ Discourtesy in Brooklyn.” That month there was “a mix of diarrhea, feces, urine and vomit: found on virtually every floor including the main lobby and north and south lobbies; found in all five elevators and with the staff cleanup time ranging from 10 to 50 minutes (average time roughly 20 minutes) per incident.”

Bellafante noted that the waste problem at One Brooklyn Bridge Park was especially bad in inclement weather. Can you imagine paying to live with such neighbors? That honor doesn’t come cheap. Bellafante wrote that two bedroom apartments “of modest size” cost $2.5 million. NYC and many other municipalities have poop scoop laws for streets and sidewalks to enhance cohabitation of man and pooch. You’d expect, at the least, that civilized people would exhibit similar respect inside their own homes.

Dog trainingAccording to Bellafante a Tennessee-based biotech company’s subsidiary, Poo Prints, does the trick at this apartment house and in over 1,000 other buildings in NY and around the country. She reported that in Naples, Italy an effective dog genetic testing program comes with $685 fines for violators. Through genetic matches, One Brooklyn Bridge Park has charged seven owners $250 per occurrence since May. The initiative seems to be working.

I’ve owned dogs in NYC and their companionship made it well worth daily walks through snow, Dog phys.orgrain, heat or gloom of night. It wouldn’t occur to me to use the public areas of any place in which I live or visit as a pet WC and inflict my pet’s mess on others much less expect staff to clean it up. Accidents happen. My five month old puppy freshly adopted from Bide-a-Wee peed in the elevator of a Brooklyn co-op I lived in years ago. I was immediately on the job with paper towel, disinfectant and Nature’s Miracle to make amends. Later, because the elevator carpet was still wet when a neighbor asked the doorman about the stain, the doorman, a dog person, [and a very nice man who sensed my distress] told him: “One of the children spilled his soda.”

I thought animal lovers were a breed apart, especially those who invite pets to join their families. This story proves me wrong. Have you ever before heard of such an epidemic of slothful, disrespectful, inhuman behavior?

Dachshund

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18 Responses to “Service of DNA to Train Pet Owners”

  1. Deborah Brown Said:

    I think the DNA registration is a good idea in the situation you write about. Obviously the pet owner is disrespectful to fellow neighbors living in the building. Ignoring the repeated requests to clean up after their dog shows they are slobs. Hit them where it hurts: in the pocketbook. Getting a DNA match to the dog and heavy fine that is imposed by the Board, possibly threat of eviction after the second or third offense might do it. Adding responsibility for cleaning up after the pet should be written into the lease with the caveat of eviction.

    As a dog owner on the upper west side and walking in Central Park several times a day, I must say it is rare to see dog waste. The Park has also done an excellent job in placing waste containers in strategic locations.

    Deborah Brown

  2. ASK Said:

    That’s the main reason our co-op board voted to exclude dogs in our building…we can have a dog only if we have 2 doctors’ letters stating the dog is necessary for mental well-being…and the dog has to meet certain size regulations.

    We no longer have messes in the elevators, in the lobby, or on the hall carpets…

  3. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Debby,

    Because the streets, at least in Manhattan, are so clean–as you describe them–the poop scoop initiative seems to work which is why I was baffled to read about people who didn’t treat where they live and their neighbors with the same respect.

    Your suggestions for punishment are far better than the simple DNA test/fine. The board caved on the amount of the pet registration fee that they’d originally set at $75 [and moved to $35].

    I think, however, that one reason condos are so much more expensive than co-ops in this city is that the owners have far more power than the board. For example, if a board were to refuse a subtenant, the condo would have to pick up the rent until another, more acceptable subtenant/renter were found. I think it’s the same with buyers: Refuse one and the condo must pay what the prospective buyer was willing to. On the other hand a co-op board can refuse a prospective buyer and owes nothing to the current owner and usually co-op rental rules are so strict that it’s not worth going to the trouble to find a subtenant.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:

    ASK,

    I can’t believe how naive I am. What a shame that irresponsible dog owners have ruined it for everyone else. Big sigh.

  5. ajk Said:

    Good for DNA! Those pet owners deserve the stiffest of fines.

    As to epidemics of slothful, disrespectful, inhuman behavior, how about the way a good number of self-privileged young adults behave these days?

  6. jmbyington Said:

    AJK,

    But how many young people can afford a $2+ million apartment? It’s not just young people in this instance and as the dog DNA testing/matching company has placements in 999 other buildings around the country, this sad example isn’t only happening in NYC.

  7. EAM Said:

    Doogy doo or doggy don’t?

    I have seen people be very negligent and lazy about care for their dogs. I have one friend who doesn’t like to walk her 3 dogs in winter and lets them go on papers in her apt. I also have another friend who bought a house in ME and came to find that the previous owner left animal “presents” throughout the home before she moved in. Worse, her husband’s boss was the previous owner so there wasn’t much recourse. If you can’t care for your pet, don’t own one.

    Although, when I first learned of the actions of this apt. complex in Brooklyn and I think one in NJ, I was shocked that they’d go to such extremes. Maybe they should put cameras in the stairwells/lobby to expose the culprits.

  8. David Reich Said:

    It all comes down to responsibility. Some people feel entitled ..my nickname for them is Polly’s … and they just assume someone else will clean up after their mess. Some dog owners, all litterbugs and, very often, smokers think the world will clean up after them. Makes it difficult for those of us who play by the rules of civility.

  9. Jeanne Byington Said:

    EAM,

    Since I read about this–and clearly I’m behind in the news as everyone else seems to be aware of it–I keep thinking, “WHO ARE THE ANIMALS?”

    You put it well: If you can’t care for your pet don’t own one. That’s why vets and others suggest that it’s not a great idea to give another family a pet for Christmas or birthdays. Any pet is time consuming and expensive. I often wonder how some people on diminishing incomes are able to care for several dogs or cats when a vet visit for either can easily cost $350 after blood tests, shots, nail clippings or other fairly routine procedures. My bet is that many pets never see the inside of a vet’s office.

    At first I liked the idea of the camera, but you’d need them all over the place and then someone would have to review them all. In the end, it would be more time consuming than either cleaning up or signing up new dog tenants and registering their DNA.

  10. Jeanne Byington Said:

    David,

    When I walk around the city I look forward to passing a range of dogs and when one smiles at me, I’m in heaven. Because I’ve so enjoyed living with both cats and dogs, I prefer the option given condo owners in the Brooklyn apartment to ASKs apartment where there are no dogs allowed without medical Rx.

    This reminds me of offices I’ve worked in where one person does something wrong and spoils it for everyone. In summer at one job I had, we came in early five days a week so as to leave at 1 on Friday. One person was late every morning and the boss said unless we all were on time, he’d cancel early Fridays. Yet we had no way to influence the later-arriver

  11. Donna Boyle Schwartz Said:

    Donna wrote on Facebook: Being a responsible pet owner means ALWAYS cleaning up after your pet!!! But far too many people believe that the rules don’t apply to them.Guess DNA testing is the latest version of looking for receipts in the bottom of the trash pile…. We’ve come a long way from “Alice’s Restaurant!”

  12. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Donna,

    I agree. If a pooch ate a neighbor’s steak that was waiting to go on the grill, I wonder if these pet owners would feel responsible and replace it or would they think, “It’s their fault: They left the platter unattended when they welcomed their guests,” and do nothing, not even apologize.

  13. Anonymous Said:

    Let’s get DNA from all dog owners.

  14. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Anonymous,

    You sound like a cat owner and/or a comedian.

  15. JBS Said:

    We live in a townhouse (condo) in the Twin Cities and I can tell you that dogs were initially allowed in this complex. They no longer are, (the current owners were grandfathered in) since the dogs that were here, were walked on the complex’s private roads and their leavings were in our yards (generally those of us who do not have pets). Cats are still allowed (although only two), because they use litter boxes and these get emptied when the owners wish. No cats are allowed outdoors, however.

  16. Jeanne Byington Said:

    JBS,

    With all the studies that show how therapeutic it is to be around dogs–some doctors prescribe them as ASK noted in her comment and many are trained to visit people in hospitals and nursing homes–I am despondent to think that this selfish, bad behavior is rampant nationwide spoiling the possibility of the love and companionship of a pooch for everyone in a community.

  17. Martha Takayama Said:

    It seems impossible to imagine that people would use common living areas and
    public indoor spaces, and certainly outrageously luxurious ones as you describe for the purposes you describe. This behavior alone should cause the building to devaluate radically! The thoughtlessness is only outdone by the disgusting nature of this behavior.

    Accidents should be attended to as quickly as possible by owners and maintenance. Most interesting is that evidently no one has any sense of the health hazard this irresponsible and dirty behavior presents.

    I live in a large building where pets are theoretically banned. There are a surprising number of service dogs residing there, supposedly all logged in with appropriate letters. As much as there is cynicism of the services some of the dogs are rendering I cannot ever recall anything like you describe. I pity the person who would be accused here of enabling such pet behavior. I also would attribute it to our epidemic of self-centeredness except that it paradoxically damages one’s own environment. It seems absurd to waste time and money to enforce common decency.

  18. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Martha,

    My nephew, whose dog Barry illustrates the post, [and who lives in a house, not an apartment], said that he bet it was the same people who repeatedly abused their pets and the privilige of having one and that of the 175 dog residents in the Brooklyn apartment, probably only a few were involved. I hope and wish he’s right. But the fact that the stuff was found at the Brooklyn condo on almost every floor, in all five elevators, all lobbies etc., and that this situation on private walkways and gardens has ruined it for pets in a Minnesota garden apartment condo and that the doggie DNA company has 1,000 building clients in this country sadly makes me doubt it.

    When I was newly married living in quarters near an Air Force base I had a neighbor with so many young children they seemed to hang off of her like grapes on a vine. One day she dropped in with some of them and on her way out she said, “Oh, little Joey had an accident in the hallway,” giggled and closed the door. This conversation reminded me of her and the fact that people who don’t think of others in regards to their pets’ or their childrens’ behavior have always existed.

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