SPOKANE, Wash. -A handful of apartment complexes throughout Spokane and Spokane Valley are cracking down on a stinky and messy situation. They've figured out a way to make dog owners clean up after their pets -- testing their DNA.
7-year-old Keehlin Ungerbiller and her family just moved to Spokane Valley with their dog Phido. She loves her dog, but there's one part of taking care of him that she doesn't love.
"Picking up his poop," Keehlin explained. "Because it kind of makes me gag.
But at her apartment, she doesn't have much of a choice. Their complex has hired PooPrints. It's a national company that does DNA tests on dog doo to figure out where the poo comes from.
PooPrints spokesman, Nick Boosalis says it might sound silly, but it works.
"Once a resident or dog owner knows they can be identified by unscooped dog waste, and no one needs to be watching them, they pick up," Boosalis said. "It just works because you can no longer get away with it."
So how does it work? When a new dog moves in to an apartment complex, the owners get a free kit to swab their dog's cheek. The complex sends the swab to PooPrints, and that's it!
Phido didn't love the process, but it only takes a few seconds.
Now, if the groundskeeper finds a "sample," they collect it and send it to PooPrints, who matches it in their database. They then notify the complex which dog it's from.
If you get caught, it's hard to deny, and you'll end up in some serious doo doo.
While Keehlin would rather not, she says of course she'll follow the rules.
"I don't want my mom to get fined," she said. "Or for us to be homeless!"
Smart girl -- at her apartment complex, leaving a mess can earn you a $150 fine -- the first time. If you keep breaking the rules, you could potentially get evicted.
Pine Valley Ranch Apartments Property Manager Amber Grigajtis says it's simply a way to hold dog owners accountable.
"We want people to be able to walk around and enjoy the property, and not step in a pile here and there," Grigajtis said. "It's gone from cleaning up piles, to maybe a couple a day."
PooPrints says of all the dogs in their system, only about 1% turn out to be the "poo-petrators," so it's easy to see how many people benefit from finding public enemy #2 -- if you catch our drift.
PooPrints also says another thing to think about, is that dog doo isn't just an annoyance -- it can be a health issue too.
Dog waste can get into water and spread diseases, so their service is just another way to help keep the community safe.