Spanish city to use DNA analysis to fight dog poop

A couple and their dogs cool off in a foutain in Spain on July 7.
A couple and their dogs cool off in a foutain in Spain on July 7. PHOTO: AFP

SADRID (AFP) - Spain's northeastern city of Tarragona plans to use DNA analysis of dog droppings to track down errant owners who fail to clear up their pet's mess, local officials said Monday.

The coastal Mediterranean city will work with a local university to create a DNA database of registered dogs that could be used to identify its owner, Ivana Martinez, the city's city councillor for public spaces, told news radio Cadena Ser.

Droppings found on the street or in parks can then be matched through the DNA database to a registered pet and its owner issued with a fine, she said.

"Right now, unless the police is at the scene and the right moment, it is very difficult to know who is breaching the rules," Martinez said.

Pet owners will have to cover the cost of the DNA testing in addition to paying a fine.

Martinez said the city wanted the database to be up and running "as soon as possible" but did not provide a date.

Tarragona, a city of some 135,000 people which is known for its wealth of Roman ruins including a seaside amphitheatre, has just over 2,800 registered dogs, according to city hall.