Tel Aviv Wants to Collect Dog DNA to Ensure Owners Collect Poop

Ran Shimoni
Ran Shimoni
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Dogs on Dizengoff square in Tel Aviv, in January.
Dogs on Dizengoff square in Tel Aviv, in January. Credit: Tomer Appelbaum
Ran Shimoni
Ran Shimoni

The Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality approved on Monday the establishment of a canine DNA database, as part of the city's efforts to ensure dog owners clean after their pets, a growing concern for residents over the past year.

According to the latest move, municipal officials will sample uncollected dog excrement, compare it to the city's database and mail the owners the 730-shekel ($222) fine.

The decision is still pending the Interior Ministry approval, which city officials expect will take a few more months. 

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Over the past year, during the coronavirus pandemic, the municipality recorded a surge in both adoption and abandonment of dogs, two factors that have contributed to more dog waste lying around the city.

In April, the city launched a campaign calling on dog owners to clean up after their pets, following a rise in complaints on the matter.

Under the city's laws, every canine owner has to issue a permit for their pet and vaccinate them annually. If the measure passes into a law, dog owners will have to submit a DNA sample – either from their dog's fur or saliva – as part of the renewal process.

Moreover, the owners would have to bear the costs for this procedure, which is estimated to cost around 250 shekels ($76). The owners will also have to pay for a DNA test in case their pet's excrement is found around the city.

Other cities have proposed similar initiatives in recent years, however, Tel Aviv is the first one to take practical steps toward realizing it, the interior ministry said. “This step is very significant for us, we are determined about it and believe we will receive [the] approval,” a city official told Haaretz.

The ratio between the number of dogs and humans in Tel Aviv is one of the highest in the world. According to the city's data, over 40,000 households own a dog, giving a ratio of about one dog per 11 residents.

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