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ROME (Reuters) - Dog excrement used to be merely a nuisance to pedestrians, now it could be used as evidence against pet owners and may lead to fines.
A town in northern Italy plans to create a DNA database of all registered dogs and then test droppings left on pavements and in parks to identify the culprit and fine owners who fail to clean up after their pets, La Stampa daily reported Tuesday.
"If signs and invitations aren't enough, we'll try genetics. I want a clean city," Antonio Prencipe, councilor in charge of the environment in Vercelli, a town of some 45,000 inhabitants near Turin, told the paper.
DNA tests would cost around 13 euros ($19), which would be more than covered by fines, La Stampa said. It did not estimate the cost of creating a database.
The Israeli town of Petah Tikva launched a similar six-month trial program earlier this month, under which dog owners were asked to take their animals to a municipal veterinarian, who then swabs its mouth and collects DNA.
Reporting by Robin Pomeroy