A council is carrying out DNA tests on dog poo in a bid to clean up the streets and crack down on irresponsible owners.

Barking and Dagenham Council has launched a pilot scheme in which it will be asking dog owners to register their dog’s DNA. This will then help the authority to create a DNA database of pooches living in the area in a bid to track down those who don’t clean up after their animal.

The initiative, which started on January 21, will last for three months but if it proves to be successful, it could become permanent. Dog owners living in the three boroughs Abbey, Mayesbrook and Longbridge will be encouraged to register with PooPrints, a company which tests animal DNA.

The first 1,000 people to take part will be able to register their pet’s DNA profile for free. Then the council’s park rangers and environmental enforcement officers will patrol the streets and parks looking for dog poo which has not been picked up and disposed of.

They will take samples from the dog mess they find and send it off to be tested. If it matches any animal registered on the database, the owner will be sent a warning letter reminding them to clean up after their pets.

If uncollected poo from the same pet is discovered again, enforcement action could be taken against the dog owner.

Scheme is first of its kind in the UK

The leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, Councillor Darren Rodwell, said: “This pilot scheme will be the first of its type in the UK. It’s about asking considerate dog owners to register their pet’s DNA so we can wipe out dog mess in Barking and Dagenham and make a better, cleaner, safer borough.”

He added: “This scheme, which is in response to concerns raised by our residents, is about bringing considerate owners on board with us now, enabling us to gather evidence so we can get tough on inconsiderate owners later.”

Gary Downie, Managing Director of PooPrints UK, said: “In this age of austerity local authorities are being encouraged to look towards innovation to help deliver important services including ensuring that pavements, parks and open spaces are kept clean.

“Dog DNA registration has been proven in other countries to reduce uncollected dog waste by up to 95% and ensure dog owners who do clean up after their pets are not tarred with the same brush by the actions of those dog owners not playing by the rules.”

Although testing dog poo is a new concept in the UK, there are many other types of DNA testing available. AlphaBiolabs offers a wide range of DNA testing services, including legal tests which can be used as evidence in court cases, paternity tests and tests to discover other biological relationships.