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How DNA Samples Keep Tempe Community Free Of Dog Waste

Pet waste poop sign
(Photo by Christina Estes - KJZZ)
A sign at the Residences at Fountainhead in Tempe signals a pet-friendly community monitored by DNA.

City leaders are scheduled to tackle pet waste during Tuesday's work study session.

Current code requires people to clean up after their pets in public parks and school grounds. Now some want to expand the code to include all public property. Meanwhile, one community has already taken matters into its own hands.

When Ryan Jones moved into the Residences at Fountainhead his dog, Sativa, had to provide a DNA sample. 

“It was just like a mouth swab, a cotton ball with her saliva," Jones said. "She didn't care at all."

Property manager Kris Tomlinson described it as "poo prints" rather than paw prints.

“By having that DNA swab we send off to the lab, they give us a DNA profile of Fido, and we’re able to see if Jimmy Smith in apartment 101 doesn’t pick up after Fido," he said."That’s always the issue. You never knew who it was before, and now I do."

Tomlinson said he has only fined one resident in one year - a guy who wasn’t happy paying the $250 fine.

"He was embarrassed and begrudgingly paid the $250," he said. "But we haven’t had an issue with him since.” 

As Sativa finished her business near the lake, Jones handled his. 

“In my mind it’s the same thing as having a child," he said."You should be responsible for your pet or child and take care of whatever mess they make.” 

Keeping the area clear of potential landmines will be even more important in a few weeks when the complex opens an agility course for dogs. 

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As a senior field correspondent, Christina Estes focuses on stories that impact our economy, your wallet and public policy.