Poo patrol: DNA helps hold pet owners accountable for cleaning up their animals' waste

LINCOLN, Neb. (WOWT) -- It's a smelly job, but one company is helping to tackle the problem.

Using science that’s mostly been used to solve crimes, one company is catching people who don't pick up their pet’s waste.

Imagine: It's a beautiful day. You’re out walking around. The grass is green and lush. Then, all of a sudden… you find yourself in a smelly situation.

Someone forgot to scoop their dog's poop.

"Part of the problem with community living situations is that when you have a lot of dogs, it’s not unusual to have a substantial amount of un-scooped waste,” said Charles Nash of PooPrints.

It's the main reason many apartment complexes have a "no dog" policy.

But now, there's a solution: a company called PooPrints, which is currently helping to curb the pet waste problem in more than 4,000 communities across the U.S.

“This kind of allows the people to be held accountable to pick up after their dogs, and it makes for a healthier living environment for everyone — including dogs,” he said.

So how does it work?

Shelby Kovarik is the community manager for the Colony Apartments in Lincoln, where they've used PooPrints technology for the last five years.

When you move into the complex, they take a cheek swab of your dog's mouth to get a DNA sample.

“We just do a little swab in the office,” Kovarik said. “Just takes a couple of minutes. We do a little swab with a Q-tip on each side of their mouth, and then we send it into a lab that we use.”

The lab then sets up a DNA profile of the dog, and if pet waste is found on the apartment's property, they take a sample and send it to the lab. If it comes back to a registered pet, the owner receives a $100 fine with no warning.

Three fines and the dog gets evicted.

“It’s been very successful for us,” Kovarik said. “It keeps the lawns really clear and we provide trash receptacles and baggies to make it a little easier."

Keeping the lawns green and the air smelling fresh.

It's the way PooPrints is closing the can on this smelly problem.

"If there's one pile, I mean... People will call us like, 'Hey, there’s a pile over here,' and make a big deal. I'm sure at other places, it's everywhere. So it’s been great for us," Kovarik said.