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Parish council plans to trace owners through DNA in dog mess

By Westerham Chronicle  |  Posted: November 13, 2012

By Sharon Marris reporters@sevenoaks-chronicle.co.uk

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DOG owners have branded the parish council's latest idea to wipe out mess as "bizarre".

At its most recent meeting, Sundridge with Ide Hill Parish Council discussed tracing dog owners through DNA from their canine's poo.

Anna West, 36, who lives in Woodside Road, Sundridge and walks her dog Harvey in the area, said: "It just seems bizarre to me. Crazy.

"It's Big Brother gone mad, really."

Margaret Greenway, 54, also of Woodside Road, said: "You wouldn't expect a human being to be forced to give a DNA sample unless they were suspected of something serious. To expect a dog to do this for something so small is just too much.

"There has been a problem with dog poo around this area but I don't think this is the way to solve it."

The idea came about following a meeting between councillor John Banbrook and Ann-Marie Milton, animal control officer for Sevenoaks and Dartford's Environmental Health Partnership.

The two had walked from the Recreation Ground, to Allotment Lane, along Woodside Road and along New Road to look at the issue following complaints from residents about the stinky mess left on the pavements.

At each location, Mr Banbrook said between one and three pieces of excrement were found and some contained worms, dangerous to other dogs.

There were also several plastic bags containing dog poo found in a hedge.

Dog mess can cause serious health problems, including a parasitic worm infection called toxiocariasis which can cause blindness.

According to the minutes of the meeting, the council agreed to take a tougher stance on fining offending dog owners and to make sure the dog warden visited the area regularly.

The minutes added: "If this still remains a problem it is possible to take DNA from the poo and trace it back to the dog and its owner".

Sevenoaks District Council spokesman Katie MacKinnon said the council did not hold a database of doggy DNA and had not been approached for advice on the issue.

In March, a council in Lancashire became the first in the UK to look at using dog DNA to punish owners for the messy problem.

Then, Harvey Locke, the former president of the British Veterinary Association, said there were legal issues to be taken into account.

He said: "If somebody has seen a dog fouling and reports a dog, you would need to take a sample and that would require the owner's consent."

The Chronicle contacted the parish council but at the time of going to press we had not received a comment.

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  • CasandraR  |  November 13 2012, 11:59AM

    I actually suggested this at a Police meeting 7 years ago. The dog owners wouldn't do it twice if they were prosecuted with a £100 fine each time their dogs feaces were anylised and proved to theirs. Will they really instigate this in the future ? Why should we continue having this filth excreated on our pavements. This is certainly not Big Brother, but hygeine and health matters, faeces creates a lot of illnesses and is very dangerous, people should be punished for their dusgusting behaviour

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