Did you know the average dog generates approximately 276 pounds of poop a year? If you have even one or two dog owners in your homeowners’ association (“HOA”) who don’t pick up after their pups – that’s a whole lot of poop for the HOA to scoop! 

The issue of dealing with irresponsible pet owners has become a perpetual problem for some HOAs. Many associations have created a “no tolerance” climate where owners police the problem themselves. In these HOAs, not picking up after your pet is a major “faux paw” that will result in being confronted by fellow residents. There’s no doubt about it – peer pressure really helps motivate thoughtless pet owners. 

For other associations, phantom poopers continue to be a problem. I’ve sometimes joked that a mobile doggie DNA lab is the answer. It seems that my vision is now something of a reality. The Denver Post recently picked up an Associated Press story about an apartment complex manager who is so fed up with the problem, that she is collecting DNA samples from the pooches in the complex. When phantom poop is found, a sample is taken and sent to the DNA lab (they use “PooPrints”) for matching.


While I have no idea of the costs associated with this process, it does seem to be a potential answer to the problem. Before your association goes down this road, you will need to examine provisions in your governing documents to determine whether an amendment must be adopted or a rule promulgated to permit and facilitate doggie DNA testing. 


In addition, think about these practical questions:


  1. Who is responsible for collecting DNA from all of the dogs to create a DNA database for the association? How is that even done? ICK! 
  2. How do you know that an irresponsible dog owner didn’t obtain a sample from a dog that doesn’t live anywhere near the HOA? 
  3. Is it an illegal search and seizure to collect a sample from an unwilling hound??

Since my husband and I are the proud parents of three wonderful dogs (Paddy, Maggie and Lily), we fully understand the problem of copious amounts of poop. Our answer: we have a doggie doo pick-up service for our dog run and aromatherapy poop bags we use when walking the herd!