Parish council plans to trace owners through DNA in dog poo

Dog owners have branded the parish council's latest idea to wipe out mess as "bizarre". At its most recent meeting, Sundridge with Ide Hill Parish Council in Kent discussed tracing dog owners through DNA from their canine's poo. Anna West, 36, who lives in Woodside Road, Sundridge and walks her dog Harvey in the area, said: "It just seems bizarre to me. Crazy. It's Big Brother gone mad, really."

Margaret Greenway, 54, also of Woodside Road, said: "You wouldn't expect a human being to be forced to give a DNA sample unless they were suspected of something serious. To expect a dog to do this for something so small is just too much. There has been a problem with dog poo around this area but I don't think this is the way to solve it." The idea came about following a meeting between councillor John Banbrook and Ann-Marie Milton, animal control officer for Sevenoaks and Dartford's Environmental Health Partnership.

The two had taken a walk to look at the issue following complaints from residents about the stinky mess left on the pavements. At several locations, Mr Banbrook said between one and three pieces of excrement were found and some contained worms, dangerous to other dogs. There were also several plastic bags containing dog poo found in a hedge. Dog mess can cause serious health problems, including a parasitic worm infection called toxiocariasis which can cause blindness.

According to the minutes of the meeting, the council agreed to take a tougher stance on fining offending dog owners and to make sure the dog warden visited the area regularly. The minutes added: "If this still remains a problem it is possible to take DNA from the poo and trace it back to the dog and its owner". Sevenoaks District Council spokesman Katie MacKinnon said the council did not hold a database of doggy DNA and had not been approached for advice on the issue.