Today, Your Dog. Tomorrow, Your Child..?

Barking & Dagenham is the first UK council to use DNA testing to catch dog owners who fail to clear up their pet’s waste.

“When a council with the name of Barking asked, you couldn’t ask for a better location,” says Gary Downie, the managing director of Streetkleen, the company that has obtained exclusive licensing rights to the DNA-testing technology.

Well, yes. I’ll just bet you couldn’t. After all, if it proves a success, you’ll have a licence to print money.

Councils from around the UK have called. “Dover, Leicestershire, Warrington, Birmingham City …” He rattles them off. There are 9 million dogs in the UK and a mountain of dog-poo money to be made. Streetkleen has several business models it is willing to discuss, but Barking & Dagenham is funding the initial testing at a cost of £30 a dog.

Each DNA match costs a further £70, but, Downie says, typically the incidents of fouling decline once the programme is in action.

But signing your pooch up to this is not compulsory. So how will it work?

Simple. They’ll make it compulsory by the back door, by using the useless revised Dangerous Dogs Act as the main vehicle:

But how will Barking & Dagenham, or any council, persuade owners to have their dogs swabbed in the first place?

Next April, everyone in the UK will have to chip their dog. Darren Rodwell, leader of Barking & Dagenham council, says he hopes “to have a scheme going with local veterinarians where people can get the swab and chip done together”.

The council plans to introduce a public space protection order (PSPO) to make DNA testing mandatory.

Let’s hope their plans fall apart. Because – much as I loathe dog crap on pavements, and would happily see harsher punishment for those caught fouling – this is real sledgehammer to crack nut time.

It will burden those responsible owners who already do pick up after their animals, and do very little to catch those who fly under the radar. We’ve already seen how much use the much-vaunted horse passport scheme is, when certain communities simply refuse to co-operate, and the authorities fail to make them comply

And the success of the scheme will inevitably be announced in the local papers (by churnalists) with reference to the amount of fines issued, with the percentage actually collected buried somewhere, and the offset costs of collection probably not mentioned at all.

According to Josie Appleton of the Manifesto Club, which campaigns against PSPOs, this would be the first order since their introduction last October to require a positive condition. Some PSPOs have been strongly opposed as illiberal.

Is Rodwell worried?

Why should he be? These people never are…

“I’m a politician. I always have critics,” he says. “I do what’s right for my community. A good place to live isn’t always about the cost of it.”

Well, no. But that cost isn’t always one measured solely in monetary terms, is it? And if this turns out to be the thin end of a large government-interference & monitoring wedge, will anyone really be surprised?

4 comments for “Today, Your Dog. Tomorrow, Your Child..?

  1. Lord T
    May 10, 2015 at 10:26 am

    I’d get my dog chipped outside the area and bypass the swabs… others will miss out the chip as well and train the dog to eat anyone in uniforms.

    Save on dog food as well although they are likely to get the shits from eating something with little nutritional value.

  2. john in cheshire
    May 10, 2015 at 10:35 am

    JuliaM,like you I hope this scheme is stillborn. I thought the Conservative Party, in the run up to the 2010 election were talking about reducing legislation. Maybe they could demonstrate their commitment by ensuring laws such as this proposal are squashed. I doubt they will, though.

  3. May 10, 2015 at 11:53 am

    I am a dog lover I have always had pet dogs all my life, and have ALWAYS cleared up after them.
    Why should I be forced to chip my dog, who has never been an issue to anyone, is never out unattended or off a lead and whose waste is never left anywhere.
    My previous dog was chipped, but to be honest it’s a complete waste of time and money if you are a responsible dog owner.
    The cost of this ludicrous scheme will of course be handed on to the taxpayer via the back door.
    I detest people who let their dogs foul in public, but this…this is bloody ludicrous.
    Is Dagenham a Labour council by any chance?
    Maybe they would be better to tackle the people who ruin the streets with kebab, Mcdonalds milkshakes chewing gum spitting (My personal biggest issue) because walking through other people’s spit carries more germs than dog crap, yet spitting everywhere seems acceptable, I have had people spit in the street and it hit me on a windy day. Vile. Never had anyones dog crap on my coat when I am out walking.

  4. Hereward unbowed.
    May 10, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    Your new motor car is chipped, with EU satellite technology – you know the stuff their always raving on about [ESA] “satellites help humanity” guff. They know where your car is, all the time, a firm in Sweden chips their ‘monkeys in suits’ workforce.

    It won’t be long………….this is what unaccountable bureaucracy does, this is what they want and this is their wet dream Part I: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regulation_of_Investigatory_Powers_Act_2000

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