DNA testing of dog stools may prove too expensive- council

A previous episode of dog foul on the Peace Bridge.
A previous episode of dog foul on the Peace Bridge.

Trying to match DNA samples to dogs whose owners fail to clean up after them would cost £100 per case, Council officials have revealed.

It has now been deemed unlikely the Council will pursue such a policy, suggested by Independent Councillor Paul Gallagher as a means of tackling dog fouling, due to the costs.

One council officer however said that part of a new strategy on dogs was likely to involve mobile CCTV cameras which could catch out owners who allow their dogs to foul in public places without clearing up after them. The council first revealed it was examining the potential for such measures at a meeting last month.

Continuing the discussions at the March meeting of the Health and Community Committee, SDLP Councillor Shauna Cusack asked if there was any chance of recruiting more dog wardens. She was informed that a review of resources was under way, with a report addressing all these issues relating to an Enforcement Policy due back next month.

In relation to the question over using DNA techniques, the council officer said he has had discussions with a company in England who provide such a service and it would cost £30 per dog to get a DNA test done and £70 for each sample tested, with a number of pilots in England under way.

He added that legislation was very different here compared to England and Wales, in that here it is a requirement that pet dogs be licensed and micro chipped.

Colr. Gallagher said the Council could look at scrapping the license fee and spending the money on DNA tests, but was told that there was a “lot more traceability” with the current licensing system.

The Council officer told the Committee that it was expected they would be “suggesting we purchase the mobile CCTV cameras”.

There are currently around 6,000 dogs licensed a year in the Derry City & Strabane District Council area.