Monday, March 18, 2013


A good reason for apartment renters to buy a poop scoop and take it along whenever they take Fido for his walk.

By Carol Christian

Houston Chronicle
March 15, 2013

Dogs may be man's best friend, but their poop can be a pedestrian's worst enemy.

That's why The Fairmont Museum District apartment complex in Houston is taking an innovative step to confront a centuries-old problem.

The 236-unit residence at 4310 Dunlavy St. has contracted with PooPrints, a Tennessee company that offers canine DNA testing as a way to track down the person whose dog left a tell-tale turd.

"I think it's a great idea," said Fairmont leasing manager Molly Kalish. "The main reason we decided to try this new program was because we had a specific issue on one of our floors with accidents."

The building has a large number of dog owners, partly because of its pet-friendly policy and its location adjacent to a city dog park, Kalish said.

So far, Fairmont management has brought up DNA registration with only a small number of dog owners who live on the floor where the accidents occurred. Others will be asked to sign up as part of the building's pet policy when they renew their leases, Kalish said.

To register a participating tenant's dog, apartment staffers use a kit provided by PooPrints to collect DNA through a cheek swab.

The pet's DNA sample is then sent to PooPrints' laboratory in Tennessee, known as BioPet Vet Lab, said PooPrints spokesman Eric Mayer.

When someone's dog leaves an offending sample of waste on an apartment property, it will be tested for a potential match among the apartment's registered dogs.

In the event of a match, the owner will be given a warning on the first offense but will be fined $500 for a second offense at The Fairmont.

As part of the new pet policy, each dog owner will be assessed a "small fee" to pay for the cost of the DNA registration, Kalish said.

Tenants who have been asked to register have expressed surprisingly little resistance, Kalish said.

"In more cases than not, they were more than willing to provide a DNA sample because they want to make sure the property stays clean," she said.

Although DNA testing did not identify any tenant's dog as the recent accident-prone culprit, Kalish said the problem had stopped, suggesting that a visitor might have been responsible.

In the Houston area, PooPrints clients include two other apartment complexes and a small property management company, said PooPrints Gulf Coast owner Bano Benavides, who has owned the local franchise since June.

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